PD Assertion

CCO Beta/Discussion Draft 3

Diane Peters, August 29th, 2008

We are pleased to release for public comment the next beta draft of CC0 Waiver, which comes several months after the last draft of CC0 was published in April.  You can view the beta draft 3 at ccLabs.

While this draft is being released later than planned (more on that, below), we are very excited about the progress we’ve made on CC0 in the interim.  We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions for improving CC0 still further.  Read on to hear more about what has changed and our plans for finalizing CC0 this fall.

In our April beta 2 release, we made two significant changes to CC0 that drew a number of comments. The first change was to separate the “waiver” tool, intended for use by copyright owners wishing to relinquish their rights under copyright to a work, from the “assertion” tool, intended for use by others to mark a work as being free from copyright and in the public domain.  This eliminated confusion the combined tool was causing, and allowed us to push ahead with CC0 while planning the more complicated assertion piece. This change was received favorably by commentators.

The other significant change made in the April draft was to position CC0 as a “Universal” legal tool, capable of being used in all jurisdictions without the formal porting process CC traditionally uses for its core licenses.  In making this change, we recognized that the legal effect of CC0 would differ depending on the jurisdiction.  After further consideration, however, we concluded that the benefits of having a Universal tool outweighed that concern.

This attempt at Universality attracted the bulk of the comments we received after posting the April draft.  It was also the key issue underlying other comment threads raising enforceability issues and differences between legal systems.

Several commentators (accurately) pointed out that the language in CC0 beta draft 2 overstated the legal effect CC0 would have in their jurisdictions, as no waiver could completely eliminate moral and other rights granted authors and others in many countries.  Others noted that the mechanism of a waiver did not exist at all in their jurisdictions, or at best minimally, and so suggested alternative approaches like a covenant not to sue.  Still others asked for more clarity on the important point that others’ rights in the work were not affected by CC0 and may need to be cleared in advance of a particular use (including – by way of example – privacy and publicity rights held by an individual whose image is captured in a photo).

There were other comments and suggestions for improvement.  We’ve posted many on the CC0 Wiki.

All of the comments we received were incredibly valuable and caused us to re-evaluate not just the legal code but also the positioning of CC0 as a Universal legal tool.  We took this opportunity to consult in more depth with our CCi community during iSummit earlier this month and with other legal experts in an attempt to apply additional academic rigor to our drafting process.

So while this draft 3 was delayed, we feel it was for good reason. We remain dedicated to pursuing a Universal CC0, but with some substantial revision to the text. Here are a few of the changes you will see in draft 3 as a result of those comments and discussions:

  • Inclusion of a Statement of Purpose that provides context and explanation for issues CC0 attempts to solve while also identifying limitations inherent in such an attempt;
  • Clarifying language about the IP rights affected by CC0 through a new comprehensive definition of “Copyright Related Rights”; and
  • Emphasis on the possible existence of privacy and publicity rights of others with respect to a work, and the need for those to be cleared where appropriate.

We welcome your comments on these changes and your suggestions for other improvements.  The primary venue for discussion continues to be the cc-licenses mailing list.  We also encourage you to take a look at our newly-updated CC0 Wiki where you can find a summary of comments leading up to this draft 3 and links to their full text.  You can also find on the wiki a list of other tools and licenses that attempt to do in part what we are attempting to accomplish with CC0.  Please feel free to add other tools you may be aware of to the list.

We request that comments on this beta draft 3 be submitted within the next 30 days (by September 26th or thereabouts).  We plan to finalize CC0 in late October or early November, shortly following our participation in the 3rd Communia Workshop on Marking the Public Domain.

A special acknowledgment to Catharina Maracke (Director of CCi) for coordinating the international input at iSummit.  Thanks also goes to Science Commons and ccLearn for being patient (despite a growing need for CC0 in their domains) so we might get this right.

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