Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

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SpringLoaded12
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Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:37 pm UTC

I'm currently in my junior year of high school, and the junior prom is in June. Although I am not a member of the prom committee, my teacher offered that I could design the prom admission ticket. I had this great idea to use strip #422 on the ticket. However, the tickets will be sold for profit, and I'm fairly certain that violates the Creative Commons License that xkcd is registered under. I looked through the site and Randall had made a note that people could contact him to ask permission to use strips for profitable ventures, so I emailed him several weeks ago, but he has not responded.

My question is, would it be against the rules of the Creative Commons License to use the strip on the ticket (with proper credit of course), and if so, is there another way to contact Randall to ask him for permission? Note with respect to the first question that the tickets will be sold only within the school and only to the students, but students may bring guests to the prom if they pay extra for a couples ticket.

The ticket has not yet been designed, so no need to worry if it is in fact against the rules.
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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby Yakk » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:49 pm UTC

Yep, putting it for sale is against the spirit of the creative commons license. Odds are he'll think it is ok, but someone like Randal will get far too much email to sift through all of it reliably.

May I ask what your email subject was?
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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby H2SO4 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:50 pm UTC

Well, I am not a lawyer of any kind, so this is just my best guess.

I'm going to say it's not, because no one is making a profit off of the use of the comic strip, but rather off of the prom. Now, it may in fact be against the CC license because it can be considered as advertising, but again, I'm no lawyer.

EDIT: Well, I just rechecked the CC licensing thing, and it prohibits uses that are "primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation." So I'm changing my answer to yes, it is against the CC license.
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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby Xanthir » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:16 pm UTC

Goddam the non-commercial license. All the smugness of being "copyleft", combined with all the control and permission-requiring of copyright. It's such a fucking copout. >_<
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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby Axman » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:20 pm UTC

Unless you're some kind of weird for-profit private school nothing you sell is "for profit", it is non-profit fund-raising. If your school is public or any other type of 501(c)(3) you're in the clear. Be sure to attribute, including a notice of the license, e.g. "(C) Randall Munroe, xkcd.com/422, licensed Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 2.5".

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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:10 pm UTC

But it is private monetary compensation, which falls under the non-commercial part.
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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby Axman » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

It is legally impossible for a 501(c)(3) that its operations be commercial. And it's not private, nor compensation.

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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:55 pm UTC

Oh. Interesting.
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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby mouseposture » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:28 am UTC

No idea about the CC license, but what sort of high school is this where a majority of the Junior class would find #422 funny?

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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:05 am UTC

Maybe a magnet school?
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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby sonickrahnic » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:40 am UTC

mouseposture wrote:No idea about the CC license, but what sort of high school is this where a majority of the Junior class would find #422 funny?

I thought the exact same thing. I think maybe two people in my junior class would have understood it and I was one of them. I love the comic but I have a hard enough time getting my friends to understand xkcd, much less a group of high school juniors.
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Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:12 pm UTC

Thanks for the replies, everyone. It still seems a bit dubious as to whether or not this is a violation, but the consensus seems to be leaning towards "no".

To answer your questions...

The email subject was "Question about Creative Commons License". Maybe he dismissed it as something that can be clarified by the "About" page, which it is, sort of...

I don't see anything wrong with not wanting others to use your handmade original work for profit.

It is a private school, but any money they make just goes towards school expenses. There seems to be some debate as to whether or not that is "private monetary compensation," which is now the main deciding factor.

I don't know about the whole school getting the joke, but I do know some xkcd readers in my class. There should be some others who get it as well, but now that you mention it, there might be a significant number who don't know what a LAN party is. But it's not like everyone needs to burst out laughing; it's a prom ticket.
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