Revision3 and the Missing Creative Commons Logo

Revision3.com is one of the biggest content creators in the burgeoning “Internet TV” market. They create and distribute a variety of popular shows, including Diggnation (as in digg.com, the pervasive social bookmarking site), PixelPerfect, Internet Superstar, and many others.

The Revision3.com site originally sported the Creative Commons logo – you might’ve seen it around:

This logo implies that the works on the site are made available under a Creative Commons license. While there are several different types of CC licenses, the most commonly used license is one that allows redistribution of content. This is extremely handy for us in Australia, as it means ISPs can easily mirror their content to make it available for their users usage-free. This is kind of a big deal, as any Australian broadband user will tell you, and I suspect will become a bigger deal for people in the US as they clamp down more on wild bandwidth usage.

Recently the site got a big overhaul – I don’t know when; I only visit it every couple months when I see they have a new show, and the Wayback Machine only goes back to August 2007.

Conspicuously absent from the new design – the Creative Commons logo.

Closer inspection also reveals the Creative Commons information is now not available in their content RSS feeds. I am not sure if it ever was, but I have a vague recollection it used to be – backed up by the fact that the RSS XML includes a references to a Creative Commons namespace. However, the feed doesn’t appear to be using that namespace at all – there’s no license applied to the relevant sections of the RSS document.

Some Googling also reveals that there has been a bit of angst from the Revision3 guys towards redistribution – part of their revenue model is to make episodes available early via a private access system to paying subscribers. However, it seems some dastardly types would get those early release videos and then distribute them publicly, citing the Creative Commons as their reason for doing so. Legal issues aside, it’s obviously a douchebag thing to do, and it’s unsurprising that Revision3 took legal action to try and stamp it out.

A quick read of the the Terms of use for the revision3.com site doesn’t really mention much about the content. It does specifically mention that you can’t redistribute “member only, not publicly released downloads” – hopefully putting a stop to people leaking those subscriber-only early access videos.

There’s one reference to Creative Commons:

By uploading, submitting or otherwise disclosing or distributing Content of any kind at or on the Site or otherwise through the Services, unless source quoted, you represent and warrant that you own all rights in the Content and you agree that the Content will be subject to the Creative Commons Public Domain License, available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/. All of our non-member downloads comply with creative commons 2.5.

(Emphasis mine).

This raises the question of what exactly constitues “non-member downloads”. It seems that is it probably the video content that we’re after, but it’s just a little bit too vague, especially in the context of a legal agreement.

The current situation and the net result of the above is that, at least to my eyes, the licensing of the Revision3 content is now more nebulous than it was previously, simply because of the removal of the Creative Commons logo.

While it is possible that they’re trying to distance themselves from the Creative Commons license with a view to better control and accounting of the distribution of their content, it seems that this is. It’d also be a huge shame, because it would probably dramatically decrease their audience, the size of which is arguably a direct result of their distribution model.

Last week I emailed Revision3’s official contact address to try and clarify this position – as yet I haven’t received a reply, so I have emailed them again today (from a different address, in case spam filtering was an issue) and I have also posed the same question publicly on their forums.

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