Let’s stop politely nodding and play lip service to sharing content. Let’s stop doing sort of sharing, like sort of pregnant. You do or you don’t. And save the trotted our excuses, “most people don’t know about creative commons”, “the default is turned off”. It’s bull, lazy bull turds, and its time to turn it up way past 11.
Frankly, if all a site does is trot out creative commons like little stickers pasted on for decoration, its like one of those “save the planet” bumper stickers hanging on the bumper of a Hummer.
Look at all the great content on ITConversations, my favorite source for tech podcasts. Their content pages do not even indicate a creative commons license (example). If you lift the hood and peek at the source code, you can find however the RDF code for a cc license:
<!-- start of Creative Commons License -->
<dc:title>The Conversations Network</dc:title>
<dc:description>The Conversations Network distributes audio recordings of events and hosted programs.</dc:description>
<dc:creator><Agent><dc:title>The Conversations Network</dc:title></Agent></dc:creator>
<dc:rights><Agent><dc:title>The Conversations Network</dc:title></Agent></dc:rights>
<dc:type rdf:resource="http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/Sound" />
<license rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/sampling/1.0/" />
<permits rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/Reproduction" />
<requires rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/Attribution" />
<requires rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/Notice" />
<permits rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/DerivativeWorks" />
<!-- end of Creative Commons License -->
Their entire site is licensed with a Sampling 1.0 license…. which is “retired and not recommended”.
Are we serious about Creative Commons or not?
Did I chew up some rogue catnip today. You bet I did.
We are building a new technology resource at NMC (more on that in a week or so) and part of it is a library of media– and we are being strict about only listing content that is licensed for re-use or public domain (YouTube is a whole ‘nother story- can you believe they have no creative commons option? we are just linking to their policy page as a pseudo license).
Technically we are not housing any media- all of it is via reference/embeds/links to the source. But that’s not the issue.
The challenges have been first with content on Slideshare – as I call it “the YouTube for PowerPoints” and really is one of my favorite services. And while you can set a default license on your account, I have heard more than one person say it is not always obeyed.
Unlike flickr, there is no batch tool to revise your content (it is one by one). Don’t try to tell em its a technical issue. Its something akin in query language to
UPDATE `presentations` SET license="BY" WHERE user=$uid'
Or maybe there is a left join or two in there, but its not hard.
And while creative commons licenses are listed on content pages, there is no way to even search for re-use licensed content. The data is in their database (every presentation has a license set to it); why not expose it in the search? I was forced to crunch google queries by forcing results to come from slideshare.net and to exclude ones that had “All Rights Reserved” on the page:
Okay, I can deal with end arounds for a site that for some reason cannot search on the data on is own database. Am I nuts to want to be able to find content I know that I can share?
But what was more insane (before I had nailed down the google search above and I was getting more false positives) was the sheer number of Slideshare presentations that were listed as “Â©All Rights Reserved”. Ok I can accept that from maybe some of the corporate decks, but I was looking at ones from librarians, teachers, ed tech folks with the clamps locked down.
Like this one on Collective Intelligence and E-Learning 2.0, there is even on slide 18 topics of open access and open content, and even a little Creative Commons chart:
Yet on this presentation’s Slideshare page:
No lest you think I am tossing too much blame the author’s way (I’ll toss a little), it’s more the norm than not on Slideshare. Heck, if someone like Bryan Alexander who shares voraciously has presentations stamped “Â©all right reserved” then there is something wrong in the machine.
The usual shrug then is to blame Slideshare.net for making the default to be All Rights Reserved. As is, it is 3 clicks deep in to even find the setting:
So here is the rub- if an online medis sharing site is about sharing (even includes it in tis name) and states its purpose as:
Individuals & organizations upload documents to SlideShare to share ideas, connect with others, and generate leads for their businesses.
then how can you start sharing when the default is set to the opposite? In the vein of Lessig’s Two Cultures discussion in Remix, Slideshare poses as a RW culture but starts you out as RO.
The counter is of course that with slideshare, even if the content is licensed “All Rights Reserved”, I can freely link to it, and even embed it in my own web page, so yes, the content is shared, though it really always resides at Slideshare. But I cannot unshackle the statement of sharing something stamped “All Rights Reserved.” Maybe I am harping over nothing.
In a little Twitter venting (thats what 140 characters are for) I had an interesting response with @kfasimpaur
And actually I think the opposite. I think the default should be open. If you set up an account on an internet hosted site devoted to sharing media, why is the default for private and protected? It makes no sense to me, and promotes a pandering to RO culture. Make the choice clear when you sign up, “Your new account is set up to share content under [insert menu] creative commons licensing because it is Groovy and the Right Thing to Do. If you do not want to share, then set your preference to Stingy”
This is opposed to what we have now, where when you set up accounts, the question is often not asked, and the setting is bured 3 levels deep in preferences.
Let’s stop tip toeing around being an open sharing online culture. Let’s make the default be RW. If not, then it’s just paying lip service. It just does not feel right
The post "It’s Not Really Sharing When the Default Is Not" was originally squeezed out of the bottom of an old rusted tube of toothpaste at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2010/11/not-really-sharing/) on November 10, 2010.