On Sharing (Licenses, Copyrights, and Fair Use)

You may not realize this from scanning my site, but I was this close (envision thumb and pointer finger nearly touching) to pursuing a career in intellectual property law.   I even went so far as to take the LSAT, enroll in a pre-law seminar, and participate in a semester-long legal internship.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but I obviously decided against that career path.  Today I am employed as a scientist by day and writer by night (with the occasional dabble in music composition and/or programming).

I’m glad I made the choice I did.

Many things deterred me from pursuing IP law, not least of which is the fact that current IP laws are a bane upon consumers.  From DRM to software patents to P2P throttling, the digital world is consistently held back by ignorant, consumer-unfriendly corporation-sponsored lawmaking.  Nowhere is this more apparent than with the joke called DRM – one of the silliest inventions of the modern era.

As a strong supporter of the EFF and a believer that the DMCA is severely flawed, it’s a bit of a shame that it took me so long to make tannerhelland.com copyleft friendly…but better late then never, right?

You’ll notice two main changes to the site as of this week.

1) All tannerhelland.com music is now available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. In layman’s terms, this means that anyone can remix, tweak, and build upon these songs – even for commercial reasons – as long as they credit me and license their creations under identical terms.

So please – download the complete tannerhelland.com music collection and share it with everyone you know!

2) All source code available on tannerhelland.com is now available under a BSD License.  I settled on the BSD license after a fair amount of research, and I strongly feel it is the best fit for the style and type of code I provide.  A BSD License allows unlimited redistribution of code for any purpose, provided all copyright notices and disclaimers of warranty are maintained.  Also, my name may not be used for endorsement of a derived work without specific permission.

Importantly, the BSD license also allows my code to be incorporated into proprietary commercial products – including closed-source products.  This clause is important to me.  While I admire the GPL/LGPL and similar licenses – and feel they play a very important role in the software ecosystem – I also understand that many programmers make a living writing closed-source software.  I want all the code on this site to be freely usable by anyone, including those who write closed-source software for a living.  My code and tutorials are meant to be educational and informative, and I hope they help as many programmers as possible to solve otherwise difficult problems.

As always, if you would like to use any site content (music, source code, or others) under a license other than what is explicitly stated on the content’s page, please contact me.

In the meantime, I would strongly recommend learning more about the EFF and the service(s) they provide.  Also, Creative Commons has an excellent site with boatloads of information on sharing your work without sacrificing ownership or copyrights.

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One thought on “On Sharing (Licenses, Copyrights, and Fair Use)”

  1. Wow, that’s fantastic, a really bold move that I want to congratulate you on. :) I’ve much the same feeling when it comes to licences. I’ll be looking to see anywhere I can make use of your work in the future.

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