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Version 4.0 – License Draft Ready for Public Comment!

Diane Peters, April 2nd, 2012

The Public, West Bromwich – Welcome to The Public Entrance Free
“The Public, West Bromwich – Welcome to The Public Entrance Free” / ell brown / CC BY

We are pleased to post for public comment the first discussion draft of version 4.0. This draft is the product of an extended (and unprecedented) requirements gathering period involving input from CC affiliates, community and stakeholders. Thanks to all of you who contributed your valuable time and energy in the policy discussions and drafting sessions in support of this draft.

We crafted this first draft (v4.0d1) mindful of the overarching design goals first articulated at the 2011 Global Summit:

  • Producing a 4.0 suite that addresses pressing challenges of important adopters, including those in countries where localized version of CC licenses have not existed, and never may, for any number of reasons;
  • Maximizing interoperability, reducing license proliferation and promoting standardization where possible; and
  • Longevity and ease of use.

We have also been mindful of supporting those for whom version 3.0 is working well. We will continue efforts to ensure those constituents are aware of our support throughout this process and our eagerness to see those implementations thrive.

We’ve documented and discussed all of these at length, and are excited to hear back from our community on how we can still better accomplish these goals. Here are some highlights of the major policy and drafting choices reflected in the draft, as well issues on which we would especially value your input. Join the discussion!

Database rights

As anticipated, the license fully licenses database rights on the same terms and conditions as copyright and neighboring rights. We have heard no compelling reason for reversing course on this new policy, and all early feedback suggests this is a welcomed change despite questions about their utility. We have taken care to ensure that the license only applies where permission is needed and the licensor holds those rights.

Other copyright-like rights

Rights beyond copyright and neighboring rights are more complicated, however. We know from our community that other sui generis, copyright-like rights exist and more have been or will be proposed. These include press publisher rights in Germany and catalogue rights in Nordic countries. We remain concerned that these “ancillary rights” (the term coined for use in the draft) could undermine or interfere with expected uses of the licensed work, much as sui generis database rights (and their treatment in 3.0 and its ports) have vexed CC licensors and licensees in Europe for years.

We have taken the approach in this first draft of requiring waiver of those ancillary rights, but only if possible and then only to the extent necessary to allow the work to be used as intended under the license. (These ancillary rights do not include the traditional group of rights long excluded from CC licenses and reserved to licensors, such as trademark, privacy and personality rights, and similar.) We look to our community for input on this important policy choice.

Moral rights

Treatment of moral rights is the other central policy issue addressed in this draft. In 3.0 (unported) and a rough majority of the 3.0 ports, moral rights are generally reserved and unaffected by the license. Yet in other ports, those rights are reserved only where they cannot be waived, suggesting the licensor is waiving those rights where possible, and possibly without limitation. The difference is nuanced but not trivial, and merits consideration.

For purposes of this first draft, we have chosen a middle ground: where waiver is possible, a limited waiver (or non assert) is granted to allow the work to be used as otherwise permitted by the license. For all other purposes (or where a waiver or non assert is not permitted), those rights are fully reserved. This proposal draws heavily from the proposal made for 3.01, and is intended to re-start the discussion for 4.0 where that discussion left off. We look forward to hearing the views of our community on this proposal as well.

Proposals under development

A few policy decisions are still under consideration and will benefit from further public discussion before formal proposals are made. To the extent these decisions involve existing terms in 3.0, we have [bracketed] related provisions in the draft. These include technical protection measures and the definition of NonCommercial. On the former, discussion during the requirements gathering period was robust and productive, but not conclusive on any approach. We plan to use a portion of this public discussion period to curate use cases that will inform a formal proposal. Ideally, these use cases will be based on demonstrated needs (or lack thereof) by licensees for a change from the prohibition in 3.0. As for NonCommercial, more discussion is necessary if any of the current proposals or arguments for changing that definition are to be advanced. Consequently, we have left the definition unchanged in this first draft. On both of these issues, look for prompts from us on the license discussion list and this blog, and please contribute your voice to the discussion.

Other features

The draft license has several new features deserving of attention and your feedback. Attribution and marking requirements are now centralized in a single location and clarified for ease of understanding and compliance. The collecting society provision is dramatically simplified, though operating in the same spirit as in 3.0. Overall, we have strived to simplify, better organize, internationalize and enhance usability whenever possible. We welcome your ideas for making this license still better in these respects and more.

We need your input!

One of our highest priorities is to ensure to the extent possible that the 4.0 licenses work seamlessly in as many jurisdictions, and for as many constituents, as possible. Please help us identify provisions that could be improved to operate better in your locale and for the communities of CC adopters you care about.

We have updated the 4.0 wiki with a special page dedicated to this first draft, where you can find the full draft of BY-NC-SA and a detailed chart comparing this draft to version 3.0, among other resources. The primary discussion forum continues to be the license-discuss list. We look forward to hearing from you!

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