Free Culture

The Three Cs

Successful free licenses are a result of the Three Cs: Community, (social) Contract, and Crisis.

For the GPL, hackers shared code until intellectual property law and NDAs started preventing this.

For the OGL, gamers wrote and consumed roleplaying game scenarios for Dungeons & Dragons until TSR’s impending bankruptcy threatened this.

For the CC Sampling license, musical appropriators transformed music through sampling until the U2 vs. Negativland case threatened this.

In each case, the resulting license restores the social contract and protects the community. Free licenses are a defensive, reformist measure. They seem to work best when used as such.

(Previously: Motive, Subject and The Creative Commons Licenses)

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