Thoughts on licensing my code, images, and words.
In considering Mark Pilgrim’s recent essay about the “non-commercial” clause in the Creative Commons license, Tim wonders if the fact that he feels differently about code and non-code makes him weird.
I don't think so. And I'll tell you why. Or, at least, I'll tell you why I feel differently about code and non-code.
When I sit down to write code, I bring a certain set of skills, a certain amount of experience, and a certain quality of gray stuff between my ears. Presented with a problem that can be solved by a simple matter of programming and sufficient time, I can probably craft a solution. Coding is mostly an engineering exercise. There are any number of other bit pushers out there that could also solve the problem.
Giving away code is, in some sense, giving away nothing more than time and convenience. There are lots of reasons to do this, the least egocentric being that I want the convenience and benefit of using other programmer's time. The more I share, the more others will, or at least that's the theory.
When I sit down to write words or I take a photograph, I'm engaged in something different: it's fundamentally not like writing code. To the extent that I'm writing facts or photographing public events, you could find someone else to write the facts or photograph the events, but no one else could write my words or take my photographs.
And that makes me more possessive about those things.
That said, Mark's arguments are compelling. I may drop the “NC” clause from my Creative Commons licensing. I'm going to have to think about it some more.
[With apologies to Gwen Stefani for the title.—ed]