Request for comments: a mutiny on the bounty.

We’re still tinkering with how we want to approach original works publication. (For benefit works, initial publication will be in Creative Commons BY-NC-ND or less restrictive at the author’s request.) First, again, we’ll never, ever sue or threaten to sue anyone for copyright infringement, etc. (Several reasons for this, let us know if you really want the speech on it.) What we’re trying to do is both find a way to (1) give us a chance at being the ‘authoritative’ source for the files for a short period, to try to scratch back to even on the budget and (2) communicate what we would like to have happen with the productions once they’re available, if we had our wishes, in a clear way, while also (3) communicating the author’s wishes as well for the story text itself, in a clear way.

One idea we’re throwing around is a hybrid timed/bounty system: for the first 30 days, or until incoming donations have met the author’s advance payment, whichever is sooner, to use an “all rights reserved” (update: or something not CC-derived which is nonetheless suitable) designation. After this time/bounty has been reached, (retroactively) re-release as BY-NC-ND or more lenient (yes, even commercial, share-alike, public domain, whatever) at the author’s option, and updating the production files to credit the story’s sponsors/donors/patrons/bounty-payers.

Please, authors, readers, community, let us know what you think of this idea. We’re not seeking to “enforce” copyright or licenses, or any of that verbage, just trying to communicate clearly both what we’d like to have happen and what the author would like to have happen with their stories and our productions. If it’s a terrible, confusing idea, we’d by default just go BY-NC-ND from day zero and “ask nicely” for productions not to be hosted or e-mailed elsewhere for that 30 day window where we’d like to be “the authoritative source” for the productions. After that: seed torrents, clog the intertubes with 30-meg e-mail attachments, host it on your server, etc. We’d just ask nicely (by default; some productions will be more lenient at the author’s discretion) that you not try to make money from it, not make derivative works from it, and to link back to us as the source.

We’re trying to be as commons-friendly as we can, while not forcing our authors to communicate intentions and desires other than their own. Thanks very much for any and all response to this RFC.

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