Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I was recently approached by a publisher who wants to translate my Chinese Anti-Japan Protests post and some of the comments into Japanese and publish them as a book. This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license so legally they can do this without asking permission. However, I am worried that some people might be posting comments on this blog without being aware that their comments are also covered under this license. If you have contributed to the post and would not like to have your comments translated into Japanese and reprinted, please let me know. Any royalties or fees I might receive for this I will donate to Global Voices, which is the most relevant project to this post.


That's a really interesting point. I wonder if a commenter could ever make the argument in a court that he/she was not duly warned that the comment was automatically licensed under CC. Ha, just noticed the new (I think it's new?) warning down below.

I guess that it could be argued. On the other hand, you can argue for just about anything. I think the license on my blog is fairly clear, but I would rather not make people upset and there isn't any need to publish all of the comments... in fact I can't. So I want to give people the opportunity to tell me if they'd rather not be published. One problem is that I don't know how many people will read this post. Also, many of the posters to that thread did not leave email addresses so I couldn't reach them all even if I tried.

Arguing under copyright law? Good luck to them. They might win, but the damages for inadvertently breaching copyright on a 100-word comment are going to be a lot less than the cost of going to Japan and launching a copyright breach action.

I memory serves I made some provocative posts on that thread under another handle.

I, for one, would be honored to have those remarks included in the author's book. ;o)

This here is one of those cases where it woulda been a good idea for me not to have participated in a public discussion, where I didnt think about the future of my words.

Not that I want to take my words back and I dont expect a Yen for em, but the thing is websites are far less permanant and reach fewer people than printed matter in Japan. Websites are changeable, printed matter can be changed in future editions, but once even one edition gets out, its impossible to clean up afterwards.

Why do I care? Well lets just say I've had some VERY negative experiences with "the press"/publishing companies in Japan, and also that w/o galley proofs, etc, its darn hard for me to know that my words would be complete and in context. Not that I'm saying there are any sloppy/incompetant translators or editors out there, or that ANYone might twist a quote to fit their own agenda... Not on a hot potato issue like this one...

In any case, since I click licenced away my words, all I could ask is that if they are used that they be attributed to some pseudonym, and that replies which contain my name also be changed to a matching pseudonym.

BTW, I wonder if the CC BY 2.0 means anything in the Japanese legal system or not. AFAIK, the Japanese copyright law recognizes "moral rights" and if so, if this webserver is physically located in Japan, anyone who published a comment on this page could have right of refusal for re-use. Just a thought...

Chris_B: Yes. Japan has moral rights and you do have the right to have control how your words are used. Creative Commons does NOT trump moral rights in any country that has them. Send me an email and lets discuss it. I'm happy to 1) remove your words, 2) attribute them to another name, 3) allow you to review the translated text.

Joi thanks for the reply. I'm OK with the pseudonym thing, just a simple sed s/Chris_B/Foo/g is fine by me.

"Foo"? Really? ;-)

Most of the other things which rolled off my fingertips would not survive katakana-ization to say the least...

Haha, you are making a good point there, Chris_B!

What if I put a notice in comment area clarify that 'Your comment will be automatically be lisenced under CC By 2.0'? They people can choose whether they are going to leave a comment or not at the first place. Also, just a thought.