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Denise Howell is a seasoned appellate and intellectual property litigator based in Los Angeles. Denise writes one of the first and most popular law-related blogs, Bag and Baggage, coined the term "blawg" and helped pioneer podcasting for lawyers. Microcontent obsessed since 2001, she is frequently quoted in the media on legal issues involving intellectual property and technology law. "Sound Policy" is Denise's show at IT Conversations, and it's also what she hopes results from the briefs she submits to court. Email Denise at

Dennis Kennedy is a computer lawyer and legal technology expert based in St. Louis, Missouri. An award-winning author, a frequent speaker and a widely-read blogger, he has more than 300 publications on legal, technology and Internet topics, many of which are collected in his e-books. Dennis has been described as someone who knows almost every rock song in existence and, more importantly, how they apply to technology and law. Email Dennis at his gmail address.

Tom Mighell is Senior Counsel and Litigation Technology Support Coordinator at Cowles & Thompson in Dallas. He has published the Internet Legal Research Weekly newsletter since 2000 and blogged about the Internet and legal technology at Inter Alia since August of 2002. With Tom's singing, Ernie on guitar and Dennis' encylopedic knowledge of rock music, we may have the beginnings of a good band, if this whole blog thing doesn't work out. Email Tom at

Marty Schwimmer left a partnership in the largest trademark practice in the world and founded Schwimmer Mitchell, a full-service IP micro-boutique in Westchester County, New York, where he represents owners of famous and not yet famous trademarks. He founded The Trademark Blog, the first IP law blog and the one with the most pictures. He is the first to come in and the last to leave in his firm. Email Marty at

Ernest Svenson practices law with a mid-sized law firm in New Orleans, specializing in business-related lawsuits. Most of his practice takes place in federal court, especially the Eastern District. He is best known for his weblog Ernie the Attorney, which he started as an experiment. Like many experiments it got out of control. Nevertheless, he continues to practice law and, occasionally, to seek enlightenment. Email Ernest at
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Between Lawyers provides just-in-time group commentary on the issues raised when technology, culture and the law intersect. We take you behind the firewalls and conference room doors to show you how experienced lawyers deal with these issues and help you prepare for the new challenges we all face. For more, see our introductory post.
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September 19, 2005

-NC Creative Commons Licenses Considered Harmful

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Posted by Dennis M. Kennedy

Erik "Eloquence" Moller has a critique of the "non-commercial use only" Creative Commons licenses in a post on Kuro5hin called "Creative Commons -NC Licenses Considered Harmful." Be sure to read the extensive comments to the post, too.

I recommend the article to all who routinely apply CC licenses without reading them (I mean reading the actual licenses, not just the summaries).

I urge people to consider especially the points Erik raises in section 2 of his post. What do you really intend "non-commercial use" to mean? Is is "commercial use" when a blog is running an ad program or otherwise generates revenue? Whose responsibilty is it to enforce the provisions of these licenses? Should the Creative Commons organization take a stronger leadership role in providing interpretations of the license provisions? Well. the last one is an easy one - the answer is "yes."

As I've said before, the use of CC licenses probably will be a good thing in a general sense, but blithely applying CC licenses without considering the consequences is still not a wise move, legally or practically.

I appreciate Erik's contribution to the debate. He may or may not be right on every issue, but he's asking some of the right questions. I still question whether the Internet community is looking critically enough at the CC licenses or whether too many people see the CC licenses as a way to join a cool club. As always, I recommend reading the discussions we had on Between Lawyers about whether we should apply a CC license.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Creative Commons


1. Robert on September 26, 2005 2:06 AM writes...

Intellectually drafted article. seems to grab attention at once.The writer has a good knowledge of the subject and makes reading interesting.

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2. Scott Johnson on September 27, 2005 5:15 PM writes...

I think that the majority of internet users really don't care about CC licenses. For those that do, I would venture to guess that a hefty percentage of them are into it for the "cool club" factor. See the CC issue of Wired Magazine for an excellent example.

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3. Fernando Cassia on October 1, 2005 3:15 PM writes...

The "cool club" argument is childish. Anything new and innovative and interesting will bring the attention of people. So you could argue that anyone that does something radically new or joins a new project does so because of the "cool factor".

I think some people criticize CC just because it makes them part of a "cool club" of freedom haters... people who favors the interests of the current copyright system.

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