We are delighted to finally publish the fourth and final draft of the 4.0 license suite for public comment. We are publishing draft 4 of BY-NC-SA today, and will publish the other five licenses over the course of the next few days.
The prior public comment period – lengthy as it was – netted important input from the community, stakeholders, and our affiliate community. It was also the signal for CC to pause and consider one final time what more we might do to make the license suite as long-lasting, international, and easy to use as possible. We have introduced changes in this draft that we feel accomplish these goals more completely. A few highlights follow – read more on our 4.0 wiki.
ShareAlike – In discussions with our community (including our affiliate network), it has become evident that there exist several different understandings about how ShareAlike operates — in particular, whether and how the licenses “stack” when different SA licenses are applied (such as ports and later versions), like they stack for adaptations of BY and BY-NC works. We also know that in practice, many (perhaps even most) users of those remixes look only to the last SA license applied as the source of their obligations as to all copyright holders.
Given the expected longevity of the 4.0 suite, we are taking the opportunity now to insert a provision (see Section 2(a)5)) that brings the legal code fully in line with what we believe is the prevailing practice and expectation. Thus, while the original license continues to apply to the original, all copyrights in remixes of 4.0 SA-licensed works will be under a unified set of terms and conditions (those of the last SA license applied), even when a later version of the SA license is applied by a downstream remixer. We welcome input on this important revision.
Effective Technological Measures – While we are retaining the prohibition on these measures, we are taking the opportunity to clarify within the license what has been long-standing confusion over what is and is not prohibited. We introduce in draft 4 a new defined term that makes clear that the prohibition is limited to those technologies that have the effect of imposing legal restrictions on reuse, just as our licenses prohibit additional terms that restrict reuse.
Attribution – Draft 4 improves inter-version compatibility between 4.0 and prior license suites while retaining the new addition introduced earlier that subjects all requirements to a standard of reasonableness.
Other improvements include consolidation of provisions relating to sui generis databse rights for ease of reference and to reduce confusion, eliminating an unnecessary (and confusing) license interpretation clause, removal of a provision that would have allowed customized warranties to form part of the license, and other language clean up and simplification. Read more about the changes and improvements to draft 4, including a comparison of this draft to Draft 3 [PDF] and a chart summarizing changes to the attribution and marking requirements [PDF]. More info on our 4.0 wiki.
Please note that this consultation period is abbreviated. We will be drawing the comment period to a close sometime the week of September 23rd. Please participate!