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Google Code adds content licensing; Google Knol launches with CC BY default


A Google twofer for Creative Commons today!

Google Knol opened today, intended to be a platform for authoritative articles about a specific topics, also known as knols, by a created single author or collaboratively. The default license for a new knol is CC Attribution. A creator can also choose CC Attribution-NonCommercial or All Rights Reserved.

Separately, Google Code added an option for software projects to specify a separate license for content associated with a software project — CC Attribution or CC Attribution-ShareAlike. This does not change Google Code’s selection of free and open source software licenses for source code. (Note: Creative Commons also recommends and uses free and open source software licenses such as the GNU GPL for source code.)

It’s really great to see both Google Knol and Google Code launching with and launching support for CC licensing on the same day, and interesting how their choice of licenses to offer differs. Knol defaults to the most liberal CC license, but allows authors to choose a more restrictive (NonCommercial) license, or even the most restrictive option — no public license.

As prior to its launch Knol was often speculatively compared to Wikipedia, it should be noted that the default Knol license (CC BY) could permit using Knol content in Wikipedia (with attribution of course), but knols under more restrictive options could not be incorporated into Wikipedia. On the other hand Wikipedia content could not be incorporated into knols (except in the case of fair use of course), even in the case Wikipedia migrates to CC BY-SA — Knol doesn’t offer a copyleft license.

The two CC licenses offered by Google Code are those that are in the spirit of free and open source software, befitting Google Code’s user base — free and open source software developers.

Posted 23 July 2008