Mine, all mine (& theirs too)

Sunset Over The Sierra

One of our design principles for blogs.sun.com over the years has been to allow everything and let good sense and existing rules prevent mishaps - at least until it's clear we need a new rule of some kind. It's been almost entirely effective, and the few cases where it hasn't have been quickly addressed by the Sun blogger community on an internal mailing list that almost every blogger subscribes to. Self-policing definitely beats supervision. Another design principle has been to encourage people to be themselves, and mix up the technical and the personal in their blogging. The resulting blogs have often been compelling and we've grown an unmatched bench of authentic, respected voices.

Of course, those principles leave unanswered questions. One of the questions Sun's present context has raised is, "who owns the blog content?" It's not obvious, since the postings include a mix of personal and Sun content, are posted on a Sun property but often in personal time, and so on. To make it crystal clear, Sun has created a licensing option for every employee that simply shares ownership of everything that's posted equally between Sun and the blogger. That allows Sun to continue to host blogs.sun.com in perpetuity and it allows employees to sort out their own uses for their content. I want to write a book for example, and other want to move their blog to their own domain.

The new license was rolled out today, to accompany the handy new function to export all blog content for use with (for example) WordPress. From now on, every Sun blogger has (if they choose to accept the new license) a clear, documented set of rights to their blogging content. Huge thanks to the team of people that made it happen, especially my favourite lawyer, Tiki Dare, who completely "gets" this stuff and without whose quiet and largely unsung help the open source community would be much the poorer.

Comments:

Nice and a very good idea. Would you be able to share the documented set of rights as example for other companies offering something similar?

Posted by Mark on September 01, 2009 at 12:09 AM PDT #

I'd love to - I'm waiting for a link to the location of the actual agreement outside the firewall so I can just link to it.

Posted by Simon Phipps on September 01, 2009 at 12:25 AM PDT #

OK, the license and FAQ are now public - see http://blogs.sun.com/webmink/entry/sun_s_bloggers_license

Posted by Simon Phipps on September 02, 2009 at 04:18 AM PDT #

This is truly impressive. Good to see Sun still 'gets' some of this stuff despite its corporate shenanigans. :)

Let's hope that other companies who offered blogs to their employees will follow the example...

Posted by Adriana on September 04, 2009 at 10:44 AM PDT #

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Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.

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