Indexterity (Innovation 2b)

This is the fourth in a series of posts calling for comment on potential innovations to our licenses. This post deal with a potential enhancement to the language of our current “noncommercial use” option.

Indexterity (Innovation 2b)

Our noncommercial language currently includes an explicit safe harbor for file-sharing (which, under U.S. law, is considered to be a commercial use even if no money changes hands):

The exchange of the Work for other copyrighted works by means of digital file-sharing or otherwise shall not be considered to be intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation, provided there is no payment of any monetary compensation in connection with the exchange of copyrighted works.

We’ve considered adding a similar carve-out for commercial search engines, which, though now operating perfectly legally, might enjoy the extra reassurance that aggregating content licensed as “noncommercial” will not amount to commercial use.

The indexing of copyrighted works by means of search engine or otherwise shall not be considered to be intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation, provided there is no payment of any monetary compensation in direct exchange for the indexing of the copyrighted works.

Is such a provision helpful? Necessary? How might we improve upon it?

9 thoughts on “Indexterity (Innovation 2b)”

  1. I hope I’m reading this correctly, I must admit to being a bit confused by the language. Basically, it’s saying that search engines like Google, which are free to the public, can index the licensed work, but search engines like LexisNexis, which are very expensive, can not index the work?

    I’d recommend making an option for both, honestly. I know plenty of researchers who work almost exclusively in proprietary databases, no need to exclude your work from being indexed if you so desire.

    I’d also recommend simplifying the language of this clause, or perhaps offering a little more explanation — it’s rather confusing.

  2. Your clause that allows an engine to spider the works may not be the best of ideas. Some engines are used to indirectly make money from the results.

  3. Really, this strikes me as unnecessary. The trend lately has been for copyright law to follow the money, and the search engine companies are rich enough to protect their own rights without the rest of us having to worry about them.

  4. I realize this isn’t about this specific suggestion, but I do have a request for an enhancement of CC.

    I would like an additional BSD-like clause that the name of the contributors cannot be used to promote the work:

    * Neither the name of the nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.


  5. Why are comments imperfectly enabled ? I can respond to some ‘blog entries but not others.

  6. I think this is very misleading. Your basic “Attribution-NoDerivs, NonCommercial” is basically giving any broadcaster the right to use your material with out compensating you in any way.

    I would therefore not choose any of your licenses as they basically give broadcasters complete control of my works and could play them ad -infinitum and continue to collect thier advert fees, and pay me nothing.

    No thanks.

  7. Is there a formal procedure by which a patentable idea can be submitted for inclusion in the Public Domain? A bit off-topic, I know, but I am wanting to protect a music keyboard design before publishing a book, and would value any suggestions.

    With thanks,

    Carl Adams.

  8. I agree with Jim that people should have the option to allow commercial indexing, but I think the language of the draft is not so bad.

    In general this series of posts raises a worry.

    Right now, I think a non-lawyer can fairly quickly discern what a CC license entitles them to do with a CC-licensed work.

    The more options allowed, the harder it gets for the non-lawyer to figure out what’s allowed and what isn’t and the sooner they throw up their hands and say forget it.

    Perhaps all these options can also be clearly explained as the current options are now outside of the license’s text itself. I think this will be crucial to success.

  9. Not much prfound to say at the moment–except that it’s excellent that you’ve added comments, Glenn! Exactly what was needed.

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