CC 3.0

CC 3.0 licenses accepted on Commons

After months of debate over whether the newest Creative Commons licenses could be considered "free licenses", the Creative Commons 3.0 licenses were accepted as acceptable licenses for media.

The debate centered mainly on a clause centering on "moral rights" related to a work. Moral rights, as defined by most legal systems, include the right to "the integrity of the work", barring the work from alteration, distortion or mutilation. Because such rights can prevent using works in ways that the author disagrees with, many believe that moral rights can make an image "unfree". Since some users believed that the clause applied moral rights to a work that may not have had moral rights applied otherwise, the license was not recommended at first while users discussed what the clause meant.

In a mailing list discussion in July, David Gerard said, "The problem with some variants of the CC licenses is that the wording of them appears to make moral rights apply in countries that don't have such laws. Thus, they're a blatant usage restriction, and the wording in question seems unduly onerous as well. But if this is not in fact the case I'm sure Joichi [Joi Ito, Creative Commons chair] will eventually come back to this thread and clarify how the licenses don't mean what they appear to mean."

Ito replied with an explanation from Catharina Maracke, the head of Creative Commons International:

Generally speaking, moral rights have to be addressed in the unported license to assure that this license would be enforceable by law in every jurisdiction, whether moral rights are exist or not. The criticism, that the wording of the moral rights section in the unported license could be read as if the licensee has the obligation " not distort, mutilate, modify or take any other derogatory action in relation to the work which would be prejudicial to the original authors honor or reputation" in every jurisdiction, even if moral rights are do not exist, is not legally correct.
...In a jurisdiction, where moral rights do exist, ... we have to respect moral rights (and in particular the moral right of integrity), meaning the licensee is not allowed to "distort, mutilate, modify or take any other derogatory action in relation to the work which would be prejudicial to the original authors honor or reputation" - whether we like it or not. ...In a jurisdiction, where moral rights do not exist, the latter part of the sentence will not be applicable: "except otherwise permitted by applicable law" means "except the respective copyright legislation permits every adaptation of the work", which is (only) the case, if moral rights are do not exist and not included in the respective law.

Ito also promised that in the next version of the unported license, and in this version of the national licenses, that the distinction would be made more clear, and easier for non-lawyers to understand.

Jimbo Wales weighed in as well, saying, "I am on the board of Creative Commons and thus privy to the discussions. I think there is a clumsy wording here that needs to be clarified for non lawyers, but all the lawyers say the same thing: no additional moral rights in countries where those laws do not apply."

Later that week, Erik Moeller forwarded a message from Wikimedia Foundation counsel Mike Godwin, who said,

In effect, CC 3.0 seems to me to be written NOT to *enforce* a restrictive vision of moral rights but INSTEAD to *dodge* or *avoid* the question of whether and how moral rights should be enforced under a particular nation's laws. The clear aim, it seems to me, is to allow the same CC 3.0 language to be used generally, whether in a nation like Japan that (apparently) has strong enforcement of moral-rights claims or in a nation like the United States, where moral rights claims are weakly enforced if at all, and where moral-rights claims are severely constrained by national legal norms. The preceding can be interpreted as restating what CC's counsel has said on the subject.

This weekend, a few weeks after discussion had died down on the subject, it was suggested that given the opinions of Ito, Wales and Godwin, and a lack of objection to the license, that the license should be accepted. On Monday, Commons officially began accepting CC 3.0 licenses, adding them to the license selector on the upload form.

The Creative Commons 3.0 licenses were introduced on February 23, 2007.

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