Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

In the name of OA, CC retires DevNations license

Lawrence Lessig, Retiring standalone DevNations and one Sampling license, Creative Commons blog, June 5, 2007.

Today we are retiring...the stand alone Developing Nations license....The reasons...are both practical and principled.

The practical reason is simple lack of interest....We estimate just 0.01% of our existing licenses are Developing Nations licenses....

The principled reason...[is that] the Developing Nations license is in conflict with the growing “Open Access Publishing” movement. While the license frees creative work in the developing nations, it does not free work in any way elsewhere. This means these licenses do not meet the minimum standards of the Open Access Movement. Because this movement is so important to the spread of science and knowledge, we no longer believe it correct to promote a stand alone version of this license....

To read more about these retirements, please visit our retired licenses page.

Comment.  This is a good call.  It's true that freeing up access for developing countries only, and not for all countries, falls far short of OA.  But it's also true that regional or HINARI-style access is an advance on standard toll access.  If more providers were using the DevNations license, then CC would have to choose between support for full OA and support for a popular half-measure.  But as it is, the decision is an easy one.

More importantly, if CC wanted to cater to every kind of publisher policy, it would offer licenses with every kind of restriction.  But it doesn't.  By phasing out the DevNations license in part because it imposes an unacceptable access restriction, it shows that its mission is to promote sharing, not to cover every niche in the copyright landscape.  (For a CC variation that supports restrictive as well as unrestrictive licenses, see Registered Commons.)