Google sez: all your profile are belong to Creative Commons

You might remember that back when Yahoo launched their search for Creative Commons licensed content, it would return anything which linked to a Creative Commons license, whether it was under that license or just talking about the license.

Now Google has launched their own version, with its own peculiar quirk: apparently anything which includes the word “profile” is under a Creative Commons license in their eyes. If you’ve got an explanation, serious or funny, for why they would think I want anyone to be able to republish my personal information from Blogger, and SourceForge, and ORBlogs, and, and TypeKey, and every Manila weblog where I’ve ever commented, I’d love to hear it.


Comment by James #
2005-11-07 02:15:43

Looks like it’s just buggy. I played around a bit, and found that I can only get one page of results from a search which is supposed to return CC-licensed content; the ”Next 10” link (and the individually-numbered links under the ”Goooogle” at the bottom of the page) returns the next page of a search without the CC constraint.

And FWIW, the first ten results for the actual CC search on ”ringnalda profile” doesn’t return anything from a site of yours, at the moment.

Comment by Phil Ulrich #
2005-11-07 05:26:26

’Cause none of the sites say that you don’t want that?

In all seriousness, though, it doesn’t look like it’s working yet. It’d be nice if you could have a few more fine-grained settings when searching too: for example, what if I want things that I can use with attribution in a commercial work, like Attribution or Attribution-NoDerivs (as opposed to Attribution-NonCommercial or Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial, which can’t be used commercially)?

It’s a nice start, but honestly, this just looks like a Google PR move to hold on to the hipsters who actually use CC licenses.

Comment by Mark #
2005-11-07 08:10:51

What Phil U. said. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to search for music that I can use as background tracks in my CC-BY-SA videos. Using music in such a way constitutes a derivative work, and the vast majority of sites that proudly proclaim that they’re part of the Free Culture Free Music Free Love yadda yadda movement are really just releasing music under a variety of restrictive ”shared source” licenses.

And can I just take this opportunity to rant a little about Creative Commons in general? There are something like 11 licenses now, not including subtlely incompatible revisions of each, and not including subtlely incompatible country-specific versions of each. Of those 11, only 2 could even hope to be considered ”open source” (CC-BY and CC-BY-SA). Open source requires the ability to create derivative works, which precludes CC-BY-ND and friends. Open source also requires that you don’t discriminate against fields of endeavour, which precludes ”non-commercial use only” licenses (CC-BY-NC and friends). It is the ultimate irony that Lessig’s Free Culture book is released under a license that prohibits commercial re-use. So much for free culture.

Don’t even get me started about the Music Sampling licenses or the too-clever-by-half Developing Nations license.

Meanwhile, even CC-BY and CC-BY-SA, the only 2 CC licenses that could possibly be considered ”open source”, have technical problems that render them both incompatible with the GPL and incompatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines. And no, the CC 2.5 licenses don’t fix this. The 3.0 licenses might. (Think that doesn’t matter because it’s software? Games ship with music. Applications ship with icons and graphics. Documentation and even software itself can ship with video tutorials. And so on.)

And don’t even get me started about people using the CC licenses for software, something the Creative Commons FAQ explicitly warns not to do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain to people that even though their script is CC-BY-SA licensed, it’s not compatible with my GPL program, and could they please re-license it so it could actually be useful to the rest of the world.

This all comes from having a movement started by lawyers and pragmatists instead of sociopathic extremists. Say what you want about Richard Stallman, but you need extremists to define the spectrum of debate. Without people who are waaaay out there, the open source community would look a lot like Creative Commons: a smattering of licenses that are slightly less evil than the default, but not actually open or free in any sense of the word that matters.

Comment by Joe Winter #
2005-11-07 11:01:47

Great post, Mark. Have you ever considered writing a blog? ;)

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-07 20:25:31