CC0 beta/discussion draft feedback and next step

On January 15 we launched discussion of two new tools in a beta US version, both branded “CC0” — a Waiver of all copyrights in a work, and an Assertion that there are no copyrights in a work. After taking account of your feedback (thank you!), a lot of internal discussion has led us to plan some changes. We are now planning to have the next iteration of the beta ready for discussion by March 31, but will describe the overall changes below for early feedback as we work toward that iteration.

  • Many found the use of “CC0” for both the Waiver and Assertion tools to be confusing. Going forward, we plan to separate the tools more clearly. As a legal tool, the CC0 Waiver can be thought of as the “no rights reserved” option within the CC licensing suite. The Assertion is something different — not a legal tool, but a method of enabling statements of fact about the public domain.
  • Thinking of the CC0 Waiver as part of the licensing suite is also in keeping with the legal reality that in some situations the tool will probably function as a license rather than a waiver. So we want to begin with a “Universal” (not “Unported”) version of the tool. We do not want to give US legal code a special status here. This means we need to address now some additional legal issues, such as moral rights and the question of rights in databases. Much discussion of the moral rights issue has already taken place within the CC community, and we will make use of that input. Open Data Commons has provided an example of how database rights might be addressed. We would like to use this opportunity to engage at the beginning of our process with CC international jurisdiction projects and other experts to make sure CC0 is the most universal waiver/maximally thin license possible.
  • Avoiding confusion between the Waiver and the Assertion will also help with efforts to educate about the existence of the “public domain” in every jurisdiction, whether called by that name or not. The Assertion tool should now include the ability to indicate reasons why a work would be in the public domain under the law of jurisdictions other than the US.
  • We also want to be clear that there is no need to buy into CC0 branding in order to use CC-built metadata to communicate the rights associated with any particular work. Our goal is interoperability — it’s the “Rights Expression Language” part of ccREL, not the “cc”, that we care about the most.

We hope these changes will help clarify messaging and make it easier for us to build — with your help — the simplest and most effective tools for global usage. Primary discussion of this work will continue on the cc-licenses list. Please join in!