Blog commons?

You may have noticed that I have included a statement on this blog’s ‘ home-page’ to the effect that:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

This is standard blurb from the Creative Commons (CC) site. In the context of my blog this means - well, what exactly? Feel free to use anything you find here, for whatever purpose you like, so long as you credit me? What about material I include from elsewhere? What about other people’s comments on my posts? It seems to me that this just isn’t clear enough….

And another problem - I don’t necessarily want to apply the same license, indiscriminately, to all of my posts. I probably want credit/attribution for anything I write here, true, but I might feel differently about commercial re-use of the contents of different posts (although I’m probably deluding myself if I think that my blog has potential for commercial exploitation!).

In point of fact, I actually changed the license on my blog a while ago, to remove the non-commercial use clause from my Creative Commons 2.0 license. I guess this is pretty poor practice as it has, by implication, retrospectively changed the license I applied to past entries. So far, no one has complained…. ;-)

Would it be better practice to attach a license to the text of each post, rather than to the blog as a whole? Is the ‘post’ closer to being a ‘work’ in CC terms? Even better, should I embed the license as a footnote to the content itself? Currently, my CC license declaration is simply an artefact of the user interface I host at /index.php - it doesn’t even appear in the RSS feed. If I licensed each post, rather than the blog as a whole, I could be selective about licensing content (perhaps maintaining a sensible default to avoid unnecessary work). And I could move to a different license later without feeling vaguely guilty. I guess I could include a statement making clear to people who want to post comments on my blog just how their comments are going to be licensed. Or even allow the them to select a license themselves….!

It occurred to me that someone might have developed a ‘Creative Commons License plugin’ for Wordpress, the blog engine used to manage this blog. In fact, I found two very easily, WpLicense and the Creative Commons Configurator. However, both of them apply the CC license in a system-wide manner, rather than to each individual post. This is an improvement over my current practice, as the license will show up in the blog’s public RSS feeds for example, but it’s not really what I have in mind. I’m pretty sure I could insert license statements in the necessary templates if it came to it, and maybe code up a plugin to allow me to select from a menu of licenses. However, it occurs to me that I don’t particularly want to use Wordpress as the ‘author’ tool (currently I use Ecto)

Whatever. I can’t help thinking that attaching a license to a blog feels a little like licensing the deployment of a content management system, rather than the content itself. Anyone care to comment?

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