CreativeCommons RDF Permission vs. Prohbition?

Discussion in 'XML' started by Andy Dingley, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    What's the difference between a Permission and a Prohbition?

    (in ref to)
    http://creativecommons.org/ns
    http://creativecommons.org/schema.rdf

    permits vs. prohbits (lower case, properties) is obvious. One allows
    some condition of the licence, the other forbids it.

    However there are also a Permission and a Prohbition (capitalised,
    thus Resources (in the RDF sense))

    The comments for each are straightforward and are phrased in terms of
    "the _thing_ that is permitted / prohibited" (rather than the act of
    permission / prohibition), which makes sense for resources.
    Permission "an action that may or may not be allowed or desired"
    Prohbition "something you may be asked not to do"

    What's puzzling me though is the fact that these form a set of three
    (with Requirement) and that while Requirements are something of a
    disjoint set with them, there's clearly a large overlap between those
    that (in another world, where CC had been stated differently) might in
    different licences be considered as either a Permission or a
    Prohbition.

    "Commercial Use" is defined by type as a Prohibition

    <rdf:Description rdf:about="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#CommercialUse">
    <rdfs:comment xml:lang="en-US">exercising rights for commercial
    purposes</rdfs:comment>
    <rdfs:label xml:lang="en-US">Commercial Use</rdfs:label>
    <rdf:type rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/ns#Prohibition"/>
    </rdf:Description>


    "Derivative Works" are defined by type as Permissions

    <rdf:Description rdf:about="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#DerivativeWorks">
    <rdfs:comment xml:lang="en-US">distribution of derivative works</
    rdfs:comment>
    <rdfs:label xml:lang="en-US">Derivative Works</rdfs:label>
    <rdf:type rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/ns#Permission"/>
    </rdf:Description>


    So for the NC-ND licence (which forbids both)
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/rdf

    only the Prohibition needs to be explicitly stated
    <cc:prohibits rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#CommercialUse"/>

    Derivative Works aren't described in the explicit licence and are only
    forbidden by their omission and the implied need for this right to be
    stated if it's to be permitted.


    Similarly "No-commercial" in RDF must state both triples
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/rdf
    <cc:prohibits rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#CommercialUse"/>
    <cc:permits rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#DerivativeWorks"/>


    whilst "No-derivatives" doesn't need to state either
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/rdf


    This approach would seem to have a few drawbacks:

    * It's unclear to humans. c.f. XBRL and recent issues about use of
    sign and high error rates for US tax filing. In particular it's
    different to the naming, legalese, human description and even the URI
    for this licence. If the licence descriptions (e.g. by-nc-nd-sa)
    generally state the requirements and prohibitions and can omit the
    permissions, why should this be different for derivative works when
    described through RDF?

    * It distinguishes between uses of the resource in a way that seems
    arbitrary for the resource. Why distinguish them at all? We already
    have a property for identifying the use we're referring to.

    * It requires access to the schema before the implied content of the
    licence document can be understood.

    and today's problem for me:

    * It's unclear how to extend it.
    The Jaxen licence explicitly forbids "endorsement".
    http://jaxen.codehaus.org/license.html
    Now how should I best represent that within a locally extended
    licensing schema? Permission or Prohibition?
    (and does using them as an example here qualify as "endorsement"?!)

    As my (local) RDF representation of Jaxen would appear to deserve a
    local statement of the fact (I have no wish to go through and annotate
    all my other licence representations for this new constraint), then
    that suggests that it's a Prohibition

    <rdf:Description rdf:about="http://example.com/licensing/
    rights#Endorsement">
    <rdfs:comment xml:lang="en-GB" >Prohibits the name of the
    original product or its authors to be used to endorse the derivative.

    e.g. this is forbidden for the Jaxen licence:
    "Neither the name of the Jaxen Project nor the names of its
    contributors may be used to endorse or promote products
    derived
    from this software without specific prior written permission."
    </rdfs:comment>
    <rdfs:label xml:lang="en-GB" >Endorsement</rdfs:label>
    <rdf:type rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#Prohibition"/>
    </rdf:Description>

    Yet that now suggests that all the other licences that don't
    explicitly forbid this are now permitting it! Surely not the
    situation that "real world" assumptions would suggest, even though few
    licences bother to explicitly state this. Or is that simply a
    defensible real world position, if only I were thick-skinned and
    weaselish enough? (I'm English, I'd never be this presumptuous!)

    A licence procesor that was available of my "new extended licensing
    schema" might be made smart enough to recognise that the default
    behaviour for this new Endorsement ought to be inferred from the
    schema in effect for the overall licensing schema namespace - yet this
    is RDF, not merely XML, and so practice is that the granularity of
    such a schema follows the namespace closely per XML node, i.e. with
    granularity at the property / Resource level, not for any sort of
    "overall schema".
    Andy Dingley, Jun 22, 2009
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Andy Dingley

    The Magpie Guest

    Andy Dingley wrote:
    > What's the difference between a Permission and a Prohbition?
    >

    "Permission" specifies what you *are* allowed to do with a document
    and presumes anything else is not allowed. "Prohibition" specifies
    what you are *not* allowed to do and presumes everything else is
    permitted. Does that help?
    The Magpie, Jun 22, 2009
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On 22 June, 19:03, The Magpie <> wrote:
    > Andy Dingley wrote:
    > > What's the difference between a Permission and a Prohbition?

    >
    > "Permission" specifies what you *are* allowed to do with a document
    > and presumes anything else is not allowed. "Prohibition" specifies
    > what you are *not* allowed to do and presumes everything else is
    > permitted.


    Are you discussing permits or Permission here?

    For the property (lower case, by convention) I'd obviously agree with
    your description. However my point is about "the thing that is
    constrained" rather than the use being made or forbidden for it. Why
    do we need to implictly categorize these too? Is it either necessary
    or useful to do this? What's to stop us merely having a list of
    "actions" and then making these the objects of appropriate properties,
    the prohibition / permission being based on the property _alone_?
    Andy Dingley, Jun 23, 2009
    #3
  4. Andy Dingley

    The Magpie Guest

    Andy Dingley wrote:
    > On 22 June, 19:03, The Magpie <> wrote:
    >> Andy Dingley wrote:
    >>> What's the difference between a Permission and a Prohbition?

    >> "Permission" specifies what you *are* allowed to do with a document
    >> and presumes anything else is not allowed. "Prohibition" specifies
    >> what you are *not* allowed to do and presumes everything else is
    >> permitted.

    >
    > Are you discussing permits or Permission here?
    >
    > For the property (lower case, by convention) I'd obviously agree with
    > your description. However my point is about "the thing that is
    > constrained" rather than the use being made or forbidden for it. Why
    > do we need to implictly categorize these too? Is it either necessary
    > or useful to do this? What's to stop us merely having a list of
    > "actions" and then making these the objects of appropriate properties,
    > the prohibition / permission being based on the property _alone_?
    >

    Its a bit of both, Andy - from your comments, I would guess that you
    are American and more used to American legal systems where the sort of
    nit-picking layering of restrictions and permissions provides a
    field-day and cash-cow for the lawyers. The system of Creative
    Commons, however, is designed from the ground up to be very different
    and to apply very differently.

    The basis of the Commons is twofold: first, the Berne Convention on
    copyright (essentially. its yours because you did it and there is no
    need for any sort of registration or statement to that effect) and the
    Open Systems freedom to do what they hell you like with something as
    long as you admit where it comes from and don't sell it as if it was
    your own. On top of that, Creative Commons then lays down *specific*
    permissions and restrictions on how it can be used which may vary a
    little from country to country so that the licence can be applied
    across the whole world.

    If you are thinking of using it, I would also check out the GNU GPLv4
    since that might be a better basis for work that you are doing if you
    would like to distribute it. In either case, it is well worth reading
    up on the details of each licence and checking case law that has been
    applied (both have been upheld internationally but in slightly
    different ways).
    The Magpie, Jun 23, 2009
    #4
  5. The Magpie schrieb:
    > Andy Dingley wrote:
    >> On 22 June, 19:03, The Magpie <> wrote:
    >>> Andy Dingley wrote:
    >>>> What's the difference between a Permission and a Prohbition?
    >>> "Permission" specifies what you *are* allowed to do with a document
    >>> and presumes anything else is not allowed. "Prohibition" specifies
    >>> what you are *not* allowed to do and presumes everything else is
    >>> permitted.

    >> Are you discussing permits or Permission here?
    >>
    >> For the property (lower case, by convention) I'd obviously agree with
    >> your description. However my point is about "the thing that is
    >> constrained" rather than the use being made or forbidden for it. Why
    >> do we need to implictly categorize these too? Is it either necessary
    >> or useful to do this? What's to stop us merely having a list of
    >> "actions" and then making these the objects of appropriate properties,
    >> the prohibition / permission being based on the property _alone_?
    >>

    > Its a bit of both, Andy - from your comments, I would guess that you
    > are American and more used to American legal systems where the sort of
    > nit-picking layering of restrictions and permissions provides a
    > field-day and cash-cow for the lawyers. The system of Creative
    > Commons, however, is designed from the ground up to be very different
    > and to apply very differently.


    Andy's question, as I read it, is an RDF question, not a question about
    CC licencing in general.

    > The basis of the Commons is twofold: first, the Berne Convention on
    > copyright (essentially. its yours because you did it and there is no
    > need for any sort of registration or statement to that effect) and the
    > Open Systems freedom to do what they hell you like with something as
    > long as you admit where it comes from and don't sell it as if it was
    > your own. On top of that, Creative Commons then lays down *specific*
    > permissions and restrictions on how it can be used which may vary a
    > little from country to country so that the licence can be applied
    > across the whole world.
    >
    > If you are thinking of using it, I would also check out the GNU GPLv4
    > since that might be a better basis for work that you are doing if you
    > would like to distribute it. In either case, it is well worth reading
    > up on the details of each licence and checking case law that has been
    > applied (both have been upheld internationally but in slightly
    > different ways).


    Now, what's the difference between the Permission and Prohbition _types
    in RDF_?

    --
    Johannes Koch
    In te domine speravi; non confundar in aeternum.
    (Te Deum, 4th cent.)
    Johannes Koch, Jun 23, 2009
    #5
  6. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On 23 June, 12:58, Johannes Koch <> wrote:

    > Andy's question, as I read it, is an RDF question, not a question about
    > CC licencing in general.


    It's about both, but mostly about the piece in the middle, the
    _schema_ that the CC project have put together and that they use to
    describe their own licences. My work is about software, so the CC
    licences aren't a good choice for it. Besides which, I have to deal
    with the 20 or 30 different licences that have already been applied to
    the 3rd party code I'm using.

    Few software licences, except CC, have a machine-readable version. Gnu
    have (apparently - still haven't found it) only just ported their
    licences for this, and have used an extended version of the CC schema
    to do so. For the others, I need to set up my own <cc:License>
    description documents for them. Some of these appear to need extension
    to the existing CC vocabulary.

    From there I annotate our Ivy repository, do some reasong on the top
    and can show that our products are fit for distribution and can list
    the set of licences I need to acknowledge or redistribute with them.


    > > The basis of the Commons is twofold:


    "The Commons" isn't really my focus today. I'm not using their
    licences, just their schema. It looks like this:

    * Permission
    o DerivativeWorks
    o HighIncomeNationUse
    o Distribution
    o Sharing
    o Reproduction
    * Prohibition
    o CommercialUse
    * Requirement
    o SourceCode
    o ShareAlike
    o Copyleft
    o LesserCopyleft
    o Attribution
    o Notice

    The "default" behaviour for any CC-based licence might be said to be
    that of the empty <cc:License> document, ie purely those constraints
    that are inherited from the schema. A specific licence can of course
    change this, such as by requiring Attribution, permitting Derivatives
    etc.

    As it is though, this "default" is broadly Berne Convention-like,
    traditional restrictive copyright. It's a long way from the open,
    copyleft or "four freedoms" world.

    You can of course express such an open licence using CC schema (and CC-
    by-sa has been there and done it) but you'll need to explicitly state:
    <cc:permits rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#DerivativeWorks"/>
    <cc:permits rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#Reproduction"/>
    <cc:permits rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#Distribution"/>
    <cc:requires rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/
    ns#Attribution"/>
    <cc:requires rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/ns#ShareAlike"/
    >

    <cc:requires rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/ns#Notice"/>

    This is probably a good thing, as it makes for a nice clear expression
    within the licence itself (no schema needed if the human wetware is
    trying to infer restrictions by eyeball) where it's obvious that the
    licence permits Reproduction & Distribution.

    CommercialUse is less obvious - it's just not mentioned. It needs
    access to the schema to inferthat it's permitted as it's not
    prohibited.

    Now this is where it gets confusing - what about
    HighIncomeNationUse ? Berne Convention permits this (it's in Berne
    after all!) and I believe that CC-by-sa does too. Yet as I read the
    vocabulary it's a Permission and so I don't get to do it unless the
    licence explicitly states it?!

    So where am I going wrong here? And what is good practice when
    extending these vocabularies to encompass new concepts in licensing
    models? I'm assuming a useful goal is "Adding new vocabulary terms
    should not change the implied constraints of existing licences", yet
    how do I achieve this? Can I only do it by assuming that,
    "Everything that wasn't explictly forbidden previously was really
    permitted, even if you didn't and wouldn't ever have exercised that
    right"?

    Going back to my Jaxen example, how do I represent that licence and
    express the "No endorsements" constraint?
    <cc:prohibits rdf:resource="http://example.org/
    licensing#Endorsement"/>

    Do I need to add this to other licences that I'm modelling too? Must /
    Should I?
    Andy Dingley, Jun 23, 2009
    #6
  7. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On 23 June, 11:12, The Magpie <> wrote:

    > If you are thinking of using it, I would also check out the GNU GPLv4
    > since that might be a better basis for work that you are doing if you
    > would like to distribute it.


    Tried that
    http://www.gplv4.org/

    Still can't find the RDF / ccREL expression of GPL, but it would look
    strangely at home on that page.
    Andy Dingley, Jun 23, 2009
    #7
  8. Andy Dingley

    The Magpie Guest

    Andy Dingley wrote:
    > On 23 June, 12:58, Johannes Koch <> wrote:
    >
    >> Andy's question, as I read it, is an RDF question, not a question about
    >> CC licencing in general.

    >
    > It's about both, but mostly about the piece in the middle, the
    > _schema_ that the CC project have put together and that they use to
    > describe their own licences. [snip complex bit]


    From what you say, Andy, I'd say you got to the same point I did with
    my own published XML schemas and submissions for Dublin Core and I
    suspect your best answer will be the same as I opted for - hire a
    lawyer to make sure it does what you need.
    The Magpie, Jun 24, 2009
    #8
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. martin

    RDF reading in .NET

    martin, Aug 4, 2003, in forum: ASP .Net
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    448
    Steven Livingstone
    Aug 4, 2003
  2. Toby A Inkster

    Re: What's RSS/RDF etc.?

    Toby A Inkster, Jul 7, 2003, in forum: HTML
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    398
    spaghetti
    Jul 7, 2003
  3. mj002c7991

    Re: What's RSS/RDF etc.?

    mj002c7991, Jul 8, 2003, in forum: HTML
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    421
    mj002c7991
    Jul 8, 2003
  4. Peter Saffrey

    RDF/XLink for linkage in XML Schema

    Peter Saffrey, Jul 1, 2003, in forum: XML
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    872
    Peter Saffrey
    Jul 1, 2003
  5. Manish Hatwalne

    Practial RDF

    Manish Hatwalne, Sep 8, 2003, in forum: XML
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    419
    Manish Hatwalne
    Sep 8, 2003
Loading...

Share This Page