More developments in the growing war between Creative Commons and Free Software.

There has been an interesting debate in the iCommons list and other lists. The growing animosity between the FS and CC camps have come to a boil at the Copyright 2005 conference, where Richard Stallman launched a fierce attack against Creative Commons. Then, we have had communication directly from Stallman to the iCommons list, stating that the rift that I have been charting for a while is now official. Am I a prophet of doom? Am I the Nostradamus of our time? Not really, the signs were already there (although my last name rhymes with Nostradamus).

I must say that I find the growing “FS v CC” discourse futile. Both movements are different, have different goals and are directed towards different audiences. In my opinion, one of the main strengths of CC is that it is a strong attempt to make the mainstream aware of the debate regarding freedoms, openness and balance in IP. To me it is useless to pontificate and preach to a converted techno-elite about the evils of proprietary models, while the large number of users doesn’t care and cannot be bothered to become informed about the debate.

I believe that OSS and CC are really good in realizing that the battle must be won in the middle. The geeks are convinced of the problems of an imbalanced IP system, but can we convince my mother to use non-proprietary models?

The way to do it is through education and by making people aware of the different licences and about the basic concepts present in copyright. This cannot be done by adopting the stance of the fanatic. Zeal will convince a few, but if we care about free culture and open standards, we must be prepared to make some compromises to the mainstream. Otherwise, we are just another small group of inward-looking technophiles, irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.


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