This week is Pro Bono Week in the United States. We wish to take this opportunity to thank the many talented legal professionals on whom we count for impeccable, cutting-edge advice around the world on an array of issues, all on a volunteer basis.
CC leverages pro bono legal expertise on a number of important projects. For example, almost exactly one year ago, Creative Commons formally embarked on the versioning of our license suite. This is one of the most important responsibilities we have as the steward of licenses relied upon by creators to share an estimated one-half billion works on the Internet (and counting). As with the development of the past four license versions, this undertaking involves major policy decisions, complicated questions of international, regional and jurisdiction-specific law, and ambitious goals. Those include internationalization, compatibility, licensing of database rights in Europe and elsewhere, and anticipating future impediments to sharing that take the form of paracopyrights, such as technical protection measures and other copyright-like rights.
The issue of internationalization alone benefitted greatly from multiple efforts: a law firm with international reach provided detailed research on license formalities under both common law and civil law copyright systems; database experts within our affiliate network responded to our inquiries on the details of licensing sui generis database rights in a way that would not have adversely impacted people in countries where those rights do not exist; and a law firm with offices in Asia and Europe provided detailed research on effective technological measures around the world.
The support CC receives in the form of pro bono services extends deep within the organization itself in equally important but less visible ways. This includes the legal expertise required to maintain a strong, compliant tax-exempt organization, upkeep and outreach involving our current licenses and public domain tools, working with affiliated organizations in more than 70 countries, and supporting intricate policy work that consistently pushes the envelope on public domain policy, education and open access initiatives, and science and data, to name just a few.
Here at Creative Commons, we find ourselves in the privileged and fortunate position of working daily with an impressive array of legal experts around the globe who lend insights, legal acumen, and depth of perspective to every dimension of our legal work. This effort and dedication in the aggregate makes our vision and reach possible, and our legal products among the most trusted, respected and robust of any offered. More amazingly still, the large majority of these experts provide assistance free of charge.
We count many among this amazing group:
- attorneys from prestigious law firms around the world, including (among others) Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Latham & Watkins, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, WilmerHale, and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton;
- sophisticated copyright experts who help make up our 100+ member affiliate network and lend their expertise from leading universities, organizations, and beyond; and
- the legal experts on CC’s volunteer board of directors, as well as Diane Cabell, CC’s long-serving corporate counsel who has been providing CC with pro bono advice since our founding.
We extend our sincerest gratitude to all of those — both current and past — who have provided Creative Commons with volunteer legal assistance. As a direct consequence of this assistance, CC as well as our community of affiliates and adopters are all in the strongest position possible to maximize digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.2 Comments »
A meeting of the Creative Commons Board of Directors was held on 22-23 September 2012 at MIT in Cambridge, MA hosted by Media Lab Director (and CC Chairman) Joi Ito.
The Directors received an update on 4.0 license revisions and a report from the Audit Committee on the FY 2011 audit. A budget for 2013 was presented, as were fundraising projections through 2014. The Board passed a resolution honoring former CC VP Mike Linksvayer for his outstanding contributions to the organization.
The Directors considered how CC could best implement its mission in the future and reviewed a strategic plan. Project proposals in the areas of educational publishing, policy organizations, open licensing courseware and big data were also discussed. The Board expressed its desire to incorporate technical innovation as the bedrock of all program activities and to focus more resources on development of innovative technical capabilities that would encourage the use of CC licenses in today’s platforms and digital devices. Additional appointments to the Board were also proposed.1 Comment »
After more than two years of hard work, the CC China Mainland 3.0 licenses are ready for use. Congratulations to Chunyan Wang and the entire CC China Mainland team. Thank you to everyone who helped create these licenses, including the community members who participated in the public discussion.
The China Mainland licenses are now available on the CC license chooser. You can learn more about the CC China Mainland team and their work on the CC wiki and at http://creativecommons.net.cn/. The CC China Mainland 3.0 licenses are one of the last 3.0 ports to conclude, with the few other remaining suites expected to be launched prior to publication of the version 4.0 licenses. As announced to affiliates at the CC Global Summit in Warsaw almost a year ago, and reiterated last October and this past February, other than a very few ports then well underway, Creative Commons put the porting process on hold. This has allowed staff and our affiliates to focus more fully on the important work of versioning the license suite. We encourage all affiliates, CC community members and others interested in CC licenses to contribute to the 4.0 discussions currently in progress.1 Comment »
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!
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.
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.
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!1 Comment »
A hearty congratulations and a huge thanks to the CC Ireland team on the launching of the new suite of Ireland CC licenses! Led by Dr. Darius Whelan and Dr. Louise Crowley, the CC Ireland team worked for a long time to perfect these licenses, and their diligence has paid off. Artists in Ireland can now use a localized version of the most current licenses instead of an older license suite.
Avid readers will have noticed that announcements about 3.0 launches are getting fewer and fewer. Ireland, as one of the long-standing in-progress ports, was one of only a handful of 3.0 ports remaining. We hope to announce the launch of the rest within the next few months, before the launch of the new 4.0 license suite. Comments and input on the 4.0 licenses are very welcome!2 Comments »
Many who follow Creative Commons and its work already know that we have begun working on the next version of licenses, the 4.0 suite. Even while this process has begun, we are finishing a few remaining, important 3.0 ports.
One of these is the Uganda 3.0 license suite, which we are pleased to announce is now open for public discussion. This is particularly noteworthy, as the Ugandan license suite is only the second tailored suite from the Sub-Saharan Africa region to reach the public discussion stage (after South Africa). These new licenses will be useful to many Anglophone African countries that share similar copyright laws and legal histories.
We welcome all those who are interested to view the Uganda BY-NC-SA draft and contribute their comments this month. The next step for the Ugandan team will be to incorporate changes from the public discussion and to prepare the remaining five licenses for a complete Uganda 3.0 license suite.
A huge thank you to CC’s Ugandan Affiliate, the National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU) and the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), and the large CC Uganda Team led by Moses Mulumba for all their hard work!No Comments »
Creative Commons’ Russian affiliate Institute of the Information Society (IIS), in collaboration with the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies, organized an international seminar and expert meeting on the 6th of December in Moscow. As the CC Regional Project Manager for Europe, I participated in the event together with representatives from Creative Commons in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
The seminar was attended by industry participants, organizations and representatives from Russian governments and federal agencies, including the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, Ministry of Education and Science, Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications, Federal Antimonopoly Service, State Duma of the Russian Federation, Research Center of Private Law at the President of the RF and the Chamber of Commerce.
IIS legal experts have prepared an analytical report, Use of Creative Commons Licenses in the Russian Federation (pdf), which was presented at the seminar. It contains conclusions and recommendations for future activities aimed at introducing Creative Commons in Russia, including discussion of potential legislative changes aimed at enabling the licence locally. It also contains an annex with information and results from the CC Global Summit 2011 in Warsaw in September 2011.
Other sessions at the seminar included presentations by representatives of each of the CC jurisdiction teams present, as well as critiques of the CC licences by local academics and the local Wikimedia chapter, with much of the discussion focusing on 4.0. The day finished with a special UNESCO-hosted session on OER.
For Creative Commons, the seminar was an excellent starting point for our future work in Russia, and the participation of Creative Commons affiliates from the CIS countries shows that there is a clear interest in working together in the regions. As part of its work, IIS will now start providing input to the recently launched Version 4.0 process, as well as continuing its work to raise awareness of Creative Commons with Russian authorities.
It’s very exciting to see this region grow; I’m very happy to see that there’s now a discussion around the upcoming Version 4.0, its relevance for Russia and the possibility for Russia to participate in the shaping of this important license suite for sharing culture globally!No Comments »
In other news: