No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

They say “No good deed goes unpuinished.” So it is fitting that “some people”: are complaining about the closing of OpenContent.

Shutting down OpenContent was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was my baby, my first real foray into openness, my first popular project (2,000,000+ hits in the last year). For three years now the OpenContent project has been *literally* one person — me. Posts, pleas, and other attempts to round up qualified IP lawyers to help revise the licenses have been without fruit. Pressure to update the now archaic licenses has increased. And now some are complaning that the licenses will not be updated or further developed. While some members of the community may feel fine using licenses which may or may not stand up in court, I have moral issues about espousing and championing them.

From my perspective (and there was only me), there was only one thing to do for the benefit of the community — encourage people to use better licenses; in this case, the CC licenses. If an army of qualified IP lawyers (not armchair legal counselors) came out of the woodwork and offered to provide their services pro bono to update the Open Publication License, of course I would participate in that process. But it hasn’t happened yet, and it probably isn’t going to.

Let’s focus our efforts on getting the good things from the OPL into the CC infrastructure (where there *are* excellent IP lawyers willing to work pro bono). Let’s (please!) stop spending our energies complaining and spend them instead on providing more educational opportunity to more people. I don’t want congratulations or well-wishes for taking on additional responsibility, I want people to critique the proposed on the “mailing list”: so that we can make some progress in getting more materials opened up for educational uses.