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Subject: Re: Creative Commons licensing on themes

Re: Creative Commons licensing on themes

From: Paul Louden <>
Date: Sat, 09 May 2009 14:58:07 -0500

Thor Lewis wrote:
> I understand your point, the trouble is, I'm sure a lot more artists
> would submit if they knew they could do so without their artwork being
> modified. Allowing different licenses would not only cut down on the
> amount of copies, but also protect the artists from their work being
> used commercially, outside of Rockbox.
Rockbox code can be used commercially. I see absolutely no reason why we
should allow more restrictive licenses on the themes than we have on our
own source code. At least, among those we host for other people. Nothing
stops people from hosting their own themes elsewhere if they're really
afraid of someone stealing their work.

> My hope would be, that if a designer was going to put in the effort to
> create a quality theme, taking a few extra minutes to understand the
> differences between the CC licenses wouldn't be that big a deal,
> especially if they are taking collateral from another artist's
> package.
> The same could be said for a developer contributing code to Rockbox.
> You would hope they wouldn't be copying code from another source, but
> if they did, they would demonstrate due diligence by checking if it
> was ok to do so first.
Rockbox only has one license, so there's only one concern when
contributing to Rockbox - is it GPL compatible. And there's only one
license to concern yourself with when taking code from Rockbox. Why
shouldn't themes work the same way?
> This could be easily fixed with a comment in the WPS from the
> designer, stating the license is a CC-BY-NC-ND (or whatever CC license
> the designer chooses), but the WPS can be fully modified to fix
> version bugs, as long as it looks the same.
> example:
> #Licenced CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0
> #Comment: If the theme doesn't work with future Rockbox versions,
> # and you can't reach me by email (, feel free to
> # modify to get it to work on Rockbox, as long as it looks the same.
> # Also, feel free to modify on your own device for learning purposes.
This would partially solve the problem, but doesn't allow for
improvements as new or better WPS functionality becomes available. For
example, viewports could have improved vastly several older WPSes, but
under these terms it would change the way they looked (even if that
change could be argued to meet the original author's obvious intent,
such as bounding text properly where it couldn't be bounded before).
> Is this something we could implement? I would be happy to work on it
> with someone from the team to finesse further.
No. Seriously, if an author doesn't want his work modified he shouldn't
be contributing to an open source project. The whole point of open
source is the freedom to modify and improve.
Received on 2009-05-09

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