@nchokkan @tshrinivasan My attempt to explain CC. Also answers you questions.
Copyright © - All rights reserved.
Creative Commons (cc) - Some rights reserved. You can share it.
The traditional distribution chain defined to give economic protection per copyright law is broken by CC licenses while being a copyright law in itself, as CC does not alter fair use clauses, moral rights which comes along with copyright law.
There are toppings you can mix up.
BY - Always Attribute the author. Its usually the default topping, without which CC becomes PD(?)
NC - Non commercial. (This becomes messy as @gkjohn pointed out)
ND - No derivatives.
SA - Share alike
One liner of popular mash up licenses.
CC-BY - Share it / Remix it as long as it attributes the content creator commercially/non commercially either the work or any derivative of it.
CC-BY-ND - Share it as long as it attributes the content creator. Remix is not permitted and is retained by owner.
CC-BY-SA - Share it as long as it attributes the content creator. Any Remix should also be licensed in a way its compatible to license of original work. Ensures virality of license.
CC-BY-NC - Share it / Remix it as long as it attributes the content creator only for non commercial purpose. Since you retain the commercial rights, they need to come to you for any commercial use.
CC-BY-NC-ND -Share it / Remix it as long as it attributes the content creator either the work or any derivative of it only for noncommercial purposes.
CC-BY-NC-SA - Share it as long as it attributes the content creator for non commercial purpose. Any Remix should also be licensed in a way its compatible to license of original work. Ensures virality of license.
CC is not anti-copyright. In fact it is very in line with copyright laws. In simpler terms, Copyright : AntiCopyright : CC :: Left : Right : Centre.
As a right winger in this case, much like how copyright can be used to restrict economic rights, derivative rights, CC licenses can also be used to do the same as seen above. In fact except CC-BY, other licenses are restrictive in one way or other. CC licenses / 'Free software' (GPL) are a quick but working hack to the 'issues of copyright/IP' but are not long term solutions.
What a writer gains / loses by releasing or not releasing works in cc-nc?
Gains of releasing in CC-NC as opposed to ©:
1. You are leaving the distribution chain open as long as its non commercial. So fans sharing the work, people copying at home will not be doing an illegal act. Mentioning this can give motivation to some to copy and distribute the work if they feel it needs wider reach. In essence it helps in the content reaching more people. Piracy already does help in wider reach. But making content available in CC-NC will allow copyright abiding citizens / institutions to also copy and redistribute. Although there aren't many people who abide copyright laws and freely pirate, its not the case with institutions. Ultimate Effect : Contents reach more people legally. Essentially the logic that piracy helps in sales can be applied and there are people who pirate sample and later buy can be applied to this also.
2. You also giving up the your right to control who can make a derivative of the work upfront making it easier for people to make derivative works. Derivative works could possibly be more popular and that could possibly give your content wider reach / possibly even more economic benefits. Examples could be remixes / remakes (sometimes unintended small time efforts) making the original popular. Much like how loss due to piracy is overrated and in-explainable, (IMO) this gain is equally overrated and in-explainable as all the numbers are predictions / numbers of future.
3. The social good part of allowing more content to be created based on your work. The social good part is viral too. If the derivative makes history, you are part of history as well.
Loses of releasing in CC-NC as opposed to ©:
1. Theoretically, you lose the right to control supply chain since its is no longer linear as its exponential. In practice piracy is already exponential, so loss due this may not be absolutely measurable effect. Trade this loss with merits of open distribution chains.
2. Since you don't retain the derivative rights, you could potentially lose your future economic benefits if you had retained © of the original content as anyone including those having non commercial purpose needs your approval for making a derivative if you retain ©. Rights holder can however is excluded from NC clause. So you can make money from derivative of your work on CC-NC. Trade this loss with possible economic benefits due to remixes.
3. You may also lose the 'whatever' extra legal protection © gives against legal violations as against CC-NC. @gkjohn mentioned rival publisher cannot sell for profit and said causes confusion when asked the question can a non-profit sell CC-NC at paper cost. Trade this with public sentiment on you (by some). Even though you did not make significant money from retaining ©, anyone who seems to be defending © are treated the same way Hollywood MPAA/RIAA is treated. I don't think you are evil at all, but anyone who support people who arrest *kids* for downloading movies are evil. :D Legal protections are not absolute either. We have just seen the Novartis case.
4. We don't know landmark CC related copyright cases in India, so legally its untested waters. But I don't think people really like going to courts unless its big money.
Please excuse for the 'rightwinger' bias.
Released in CC-BY