To preface this, let me be very clear that the changes I’m implementing should be nothing but positive for our authors. I wouldn’t make a negative change without consulting you all first, but this is something that I feel is necessary to protect our authors’ works on the site.
Today, I’ve made an important change to the site to update the current Creative Commons license used for all content published on Protagonize to a slightly more restrictive license. You may or may not have noticed when using the site that all content was previously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. What I’ve done, after consulting with our moderators and trading emails with the (super helpful!) folks over at Creative Commons, is to switch the license that we currently use for all content on the site to the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
What does this mean to our authors? Well, I’ve updated the FAQ to explain the new license in layman’s terms (the full legalese is available here), but here it is again, with the new section highlighted:
- Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only if they give the author or licensor the credits in the manner specified by these.
- Licensees may copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only for noncommercial purposes.
- Licensees may distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the original work.
As you can see, I’ve added a non-commercial use clause to the license we use. Why have I made this change, you ask? Well, this is entirely to protect our authors from what I consider potentially unscrupulous use of their works on other sites. If it doesn’t go against our prior license directly, it definitely goes against it in spirit. I won’t go into detail regarding the specific reasons behind the change (feel free to contact me if you’re really curious), but suffice it to say that the moderators are aware of why I’m doing this, and it’s definitely in the best interest of our members.
Note: If you’re looking to learn more about Creative Commons licensing when it comes to self-publishing and writing online, I’d encourage you to read this article. It’s quite helpful in explaining the basic concepts: Creative Commons: What Every Self-Publisher Ought to Know
On top of the global licensing change, there are a couple of other additions coming to the site that will allow for our authors to directly set licenses on their work. I’ll be implementing these changes on the site this week and will post another entry on our blog once they’re in place. To give you an idea of what they’re all about, they’ll allow our authors to select an explicit license for all of their works on the site, as well as a default license on their profile that will apply to all new works. Existing works will inherit the new global license, but can be changed to anything you want once the option to set licenses explicitly is enable. I’m hoping this will allow the site to appeal to a wider range of authors while giving you all a little more peace of mind over how your content is being used.
If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, please comment here, or feel free to contact me directly. I’m confident that these license modifications will be to the benefit of all Protagonize authors, but I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the changes.