One argument in favour of CC BY
December 14, 2012
[Originally written as a comment on Martin Coward’s blog, but I thought the point was worth making as its own post.]
It may be true, as Martin suggests, that CC BY-NC is better for the author than CC BY. But authors are part of a community, and it’s unquestionably better for the broader community that CC BY be used. It’s better for society that commercial applications of the author’s research be allowed and encouraged.
So long as researchers are funded by that broader community, it’s fair that funders should be able to mandate the more permissive licence, which is better for society. If we kick back against that — if we say it’s not enough to be paid to do research, we also want a slice of the commercial uses of our work — we only perpetuate society’s ivory-tower stereotype of academics who think the world owes them a living.
So while there is certainly an argument to be made that CC BY is also better for the researcher, I think that whether that’s true or not, simple justice requires that no additional restrictions be placed on such work.