Discussion period open for Draft ShareAlike Statement of Intent


Today we’re beginning our discussion period for the Draft Statement of Intent for the ShareAlike Licenses. Because of the new provision in the 4.0 ShareAlike licenses allowing licensees to use SA works in Adapted Material under the conditions of a later license version, we are working on a statement of intent that publicly commits to attributes of the ShareAlike licenses that CC will keep constant in future versions. The statement is meant to address concerns about what may happen with future versions of SA, and what it means for licensors.

You can view the initial announcement to the license development list, and the announcement of the new revision and final discussion period.

Many of you are familiar with the existing statement of intent on the scope of ShareAlike, made in preparation for Wikipedia’s migration from GFDL to CC BY-SA, which we wrote about in 2008. This statement isn’t a replacement for it; instead, it will be a supplement to the commitments made there. The 10 items in the current discussion draft include a commitment to a public discussion process for all future license versions, as well as a commitment not to narrow the scope of future versions (though it could be expanded). Items 9 and 10 of the draft are proposals included for consideration, but are unlikely to appear in the final document.

We are discussing the development of this statement on the license development list before publication so that the CC community can provide its thoughtful guidance and feedback before we make this long-term commitment. (You can sign up here to join the discussion.) It will remain open for comment until February 21.

Update (February 19): After hearing community feedback, we’ve decided not to publish this now, but instead to revisit it at a later date as more general versioning principles for all of the CC licenses.

One thought on “Discussion period open for Draft ShareAlike Statement of Intent”

  1. Immediately, I could see one problem developing, in the wake of what happened with the GPL. This could cause ShareAlike to fall out of favor if it is not handled properly.

    If future versions of CC-BY-SA contained an “or any later version” change, you may end up with content creators choosing to use the older version of the license, because they don’t want other creators’ contributions to become unavailable to them. In frustration, newer creations would be released under licenses without ShareAlike, which would weaken an important legal tool in the production of dedicated Free Cultural works.

    Later license version provisions may divide communities and content, as has been happening in the software world. I wouldn’t want to see that happen with Creative Commons. Perhaps other avenues could be explored.

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