Time To Rant About Licensing

May. 5, 2021

There’s few things that irk me quite as much as people who release their stuff under a supposed “free” license – like the Creative Commons license – and then point to a separate site with random other restrictions. Those that do this can go and fuck themselves up the ass with a rusty cheese grater.

See, the Creative Commons license is a well known name to many, and its license is easy to understand and follow. License it under the most “open” variant (excluding the Public Domain license) and others are good to remix and do pretty much whatever they want, provided they simply credit the author in an appropriate way. Easy, right? Yeah, that’s the major appeal to the license: everyone can get it – creator and user alike. Now, some musical artists/creators, for example, like to promote their music as “Copyright Free,” “Royalty Free,” etc, which is perfectly fine, of course. Though, the former is not the correct term, but I digress. Anyway, oftentimes the creator in those cases is genuinely passionate about creating works that everyone can get to enjoy, and they want their work to be listened to, used, and possibly even remixed and built upon; they just want to be credited in some way for it – absolutely fantastic, and certainly more than fair.

Now onto the problem I have with how creators misuse this license. Certain creators who release their works into the wild, is that they, for example, release their work onto SoundCloud and label it as Creative Commons, but then they point to a “Usage terms” page. No, that’s not how this works. You do not get to claim your creation is licensed under a well established license, to namedrop a certain license for whatever reason you might have – for “clout” or whatever – but then go and try and enforce further arbitrary restrictions. That’s not cool. Sincerely, fuck you if you do this.

Either license your creation under a more restrictive Creative Commons license to begin with (such as the “CC BY-NC-ND” license), and possibly sell a separate dedicated license for other uses; or just release it under a “normal” all right reserved license to begin with.

There is, or at least should not be any in-betweens with a CC license. If you modify the terms of the license, then you’ve created a derivative of the license itself – it is no longer the Creative Commons license but something else.