The Broader Context of Advocating for CC BY

A quick response to some of the conversation prompted by my recent post Advocating for CC BY.

I work very hard to be a strong and effective advocate for openness generally and for CC BY specifically. My advocacy always occurs in the context of the following beliefs:

  1. In every case, people should choose the Creative Commons license that will best help them to accomplish their goals. Their choice of license is a critically important decision and shouldn’t be made without some understanding of the consequences.
  2. Many people, when first exposed to the CC licenses, simply assume that choosing a license with the NC condition will best help them accomplish their goals.
  3. After people learn more about the licenses and the open education community, they often choose a more open license (one without the NC condition).
  4. We should have supportive conversations with people as early as possible in their process of choosing a license in order to deepen their understanding of the licenses and the community, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will choose a more open license. (My previous post was a primer on how to have this conversation.)
  5. Some people will still choose to use a license with the NC condition. When we are confident that they clearly understand the impacts of the choice they are making, we should ramp down our advocacy for greater openness and respect their decision.

To some extent, I’m following Thaler and Sunstein here – trying “to influence choices in a way that will make choosers better off, as judged by themselves.” Nudge does a nice job of explaining this perspective, which (1) completely respects the chooser’s agency and (2) tries to support the chooser in making the decision that they would judge to be the best.

Yes, there are cases where a license with the NC condition is the best choice, but they are exceedingly rare.

And for @rashford, who wondered whether a discussion on this topic between Stephen Downes and I might be informative, be careful what you ask for: here’s the transcript (and audio) from an all-day conversation between us on this and related topics –