As of this week, our friend BasselKhartabil has been in prison in Syria for one year with no charges brought against him. Bassel is a long-time CC volunteer and leader of the CC program in Syria.Bassel’s imprisonment is a reminder that we’re not only working toward a freer Internet; we’re fighting for a freer world.This week, community members are holding gatherings and demonstrations all over the world in honor of Bassel. Find out more at freebassel.org.
CC mission statement identifies our role around legal and technical providing good lead in to speaking about Version 4 licenses Compelling drivers for versioning the license suite now.
Evolution of the CC license suite – a quick overview of why we version, and when. License versioning is a core responsibility of license stewardship -- to keep pace with and anticipate important changes in the legal and technology ecosystem, as well as the needs of our growing adopter base. Each prior versioning effort has be driven by important needs. Some examples from the two major versions to date1.0 – 2.0: CC learned a lot its first year in existence, and with experience came recognition that adjustments were needed relatively soon after launch of 1.0. Among other things * no demand for the non BY licenses in the original suite of 11 licenses; took the opportunity to drop those from the 2.0 suite * dropped affirmative representations and warranties on the part of licensors, to bring us in line with what other providers of free content were doing. We recognized (and encouraged then as well as today) that licensors can offer warranties with or without a fee where those are sought. This is a common model throughout the open publishing landscape, and one embraced by the open source community as well. * other important changes: improving the attribution requirement, addressing music-related issues including how the CC licenses work with collecting societies, and introducing compatibility between ported versions of BY-SA.2.0 to 3.0: second major upgrade * endorsement: concern by licensors that when others reused their works, the licensor endorsed those uses through attribution statements. Introduced “no endorsement” provision, introduced provision requiring removal of attribution when requested and reasonably possible, and clarified moral rights * internationalization-related issues: the generic license was one in the same as the US license, wanted to change that by creating a more international license using international terminology to ease adoption issues; other issues also were in play, including the need to harmonize still further treatment of moral rights. * compatibility: other major issue was compatibility with other copy-left or ShareAlike licenses. Recognized problems associated with having incompatible silos of content that could not be remixed; introduced a provision that would allow CC to declare other licenses sufficiently compatible such that content could be remixed between them and licensed under one or the other license easily.
Compelling drivers for versioning the license suite now.
A third factor compelling CC to version is the opportunity to make adjustments that accommodate needs of intergovernmental organizations who want to participate in the learning and education commons but cannot do so because our licenses to date have been insufficiently clear on how they operate relative to IGOs.These IGOs represent important policy makers as well as contributors of learning materials they seek to share broadly with the public under standard terms and conditions. CC licenses can accommodate the needs of many through the versioning process without substantively changing how our licenses operate. This should avoid the creation of custom licenses by IGOs that would compound the proliferation and interoperability problems.CC is working currently with a group of IGOs on a 3.0 port of the CC licenses. Our expectation is that 4.0 will address most if not all of their concerns so that the 4.0 licenses may be used in lieu of the 3.0 IGO ported licenses.
Other ImprovementsAs well as 3.0 has served CC and its community for the last 5+ years, as we celebrated the 10th birthday of the launch of version 1.0 we felt it was important to look at our licenses with a critical eye to what more could be improved to help accomplish our mutual goals in the next decade.While CC had several important reasons to version, we also felt it time to more broadly examine the sharing landscape at the policy, legal and technical levels to identify ways to improve our licenses to anticipate challenges ahead to their usability.
Here are some of the most important benefits and improvements to the licenses the OER and education community in particular can expect to see when the licenses launch late this year.
Attribution requirements have been aggregated and greatly simplified, with more flexibility built in such that all requirements are subject to a “reasonable to the means, medium and context” standard;ShareAlike remains unchanged, which means your BY and BY-SA works can still be uploaded to Wikipedia/media as before, and you can remix content with your own from Wikipedia/media as before, with same rules SharingAlikeapplyingNo change in NC – this is a relief for many and a disappointment for others, but no compelling case with substantial consensus emerged; for those in the education with models based on –NC, you can continue to rely on the same definition applying
AttributionOne of the most visible changes and important to the education community will be the attribution requirement. We aggregated and greatly simplified the attribution requirements, and introduced more flexibility for just how attribution may be provided, making it easier for teachers and educators to comply. At the same time, we have kept intact the central attribution requirements from earlier versions so that authors and scholars can be sure they receive the credit they deserve.Four important parts of the new attribution requirement are worth noting: Changes to attribution requirements: Noting title is no longer required. Noting modifications is required (even if modification does not result in a new derivative work). This is to make it easier for downstream users to know what the original work was. All of the requirements may now be satisfied “in any reasonable manner based on the medium, means and context in which the Licensed Material or Adapted Material is Shared.”This expands the “reasonableness” provision to all aspects of attribution, which has been criticized as too strict because the license automatically terminates if this condition is not met. We have also included two important examples within the text itself, that will help re-users of educational materials comply: “For example, it may be reasonable to satisfy some or all of the conditions by providing a URI or hyperlink to a resource that includes some or all of the required information.”In short, if the required information is already aggregated in the copyright notice or elsewhere, all you need to do is include the notice or link to the page where the information exists. Moral rights – remain reserved and preserved for authors, just as in 3.0 and before. While the language is modified and simplified, the intent is the same. Particularly in Europe and civil law jurisdictions, being clear and respectful about the moral rights of creators is paramount. Therefore, our licenses reserve those rights except in the very limited case where the licensee can’t use the work as the license intends and it is possible to waive those under applicable law.NET: Much clearer requirements, more flexibility as to how to provide attribution thereby increasing compliance and less risk of violation, and authors rights are still preserved as before.
ShareAlikeWe have clarified but not expanded the requirement of SA, which applies as before only to adaptations, not other uses of the licensed work that does not result in an adaptation under copyright. For educators, this means you can continue to incorporate content from Wikimedia and Wikipedia into your educational resources, and unless your use of that work constitutes an adaptation under applicable law, you may incorporate those works into your learning materials without being required to ShareAlike your separate contributions. [General messaging point: note where appropriate that not every change of an –SA work necessarily results in an adaptation, and sometimes uses of –SA works in unmodified form with other content will be an adaptation. The outcome turns on whether the use is an adaptation or derivative work under applicable law.]
NonCommercialAfter a lot of reflection and review of proposals for changing NC, we have taken the policy decision not to adjust the definition in 4.0. This is a disappointment for some, and a relief for others. (Note: we have removed the word “private” but this is not intended to change meaning or scope.)[Short version] However flawed the current definition may be, it is one that our community has become accustomed to and relies upon, including providers of learning resources but also other important constituents such as photographers and musicians. A proposed alternative would have had to be extremely compelling to justify disrupting those expectations. And while the proposals made had many merits, they fell short of that difficult standard. Upon close review, as much as the proposed alternatives attempt to provide additional clarity around particular uses, they simultaneously introduce new, additional layers of uncertainty for licensors and licensees and did not create a net benefit overall.[Longer explanation] CC knew going into the versioning process that –NC would be a point of discussion, particularly by educators. We also knew that however flawed the definition, it is one that our community relies upon, such that any proposal would have to be extremely compelling to justify a change. However meritorious the changes offered may have been, they fell short of that difficult standard. Here’s why.There have been two main complaints about NC. The first is that some in the community believe the definition is unclear. Importantly – and what may be a surprise to some – is that this is not universally-held complaint. Many argued that the definition – when actually read against sets of circumstances -- works quite well even if there was some gray in the middle, and that to adjust the definition when the real problem was otherwise was no reason to disrupt existing practices and expectations. Our results from the NC study conducted a few years ago confirm the existence of common understandings and, importantly, a low amount of conflict between licensors and licensees on this point. Relatedly, when we reviewed the many proposals for adjusting the definition and tested those in the drafting process, it became immediately clear that any adjustments only introduced more complexity and new uncertainties, which did not produce a net benefit. The question then became, do we change the definition if the result produces not net benefit in terms of clarity but disrupt existing expectations and uses that are established and working well, or do we leave current understandings of the definition, however imperfect, in place.The second area of complaint regards specific cases of reuse. Some argued for an expansion of NC, so that the –NC licenses would prohibit more types of reuses than currently prohibited. Others argued for a narrowing of NC, so that the –NC licenses restricted less. Neither of these alternatives received wide support, nor was there consensus among even those who fell on the same side of this divide. [Education example] By way of example, several proposals attempted to levy the term “education” claiming that some activities were educational and others were not, and that depending on how the term is defined it should drive the outcome of whether a use is commercial or noncommercial. But even among those advancing these proposals, there was little if any consensus about what is and is not an educational use, and whether it is or not depending on who is doing the education (for profit or not for profit institutions, e.g.), and under what circumstances. The OCW and OER arena is going through a period of rapid change, disrupting (in many positive ways) existing models for how education is provided, by what means, by whom, etc. To tie a new definition of –NC to account for a current understanding of what is and is not “educational use” – however attractive in theory – we felt was not advisable.Still further, we have a responsibility toward those currently using the –NC licenses and consider their expectations for how their works that are already licensed will be remixed and reused. For those who use BY-NC-SA 3.0, the license allows remixes to be licensed under BY-NC-SA 4.0. If the definition in 4.0 is changed, then the scope of –NC on the remix under 4.0 would be different from that planned by the original licensor. Any modified definition might be interpreted to allow more uses of works to fall within the scope of NC, and where that happened the original licensor – who believed those activities were reserved to her – would have her expectations undermined.For all these reasons, we concluded that making a change produced no net benefit. To make a change despite this analysis so we could say we tried for the purpose of silencing critics is not a legitimate reason for doing so. That said, we are planning to clarify what NC means outside of the license where possible, and will look for your help with that from the educational perspective. We will be working toward that clarification within a short period following the launch of 4.0, if not sooner. [Did not mention NC/ND debate on branding and stewardship of those licenses.]
Other improvements:Reinstatement: A common complaint of many users of CC licensed works is that the automatic termination provision is harsh and ought be softened. 4.0 will include a provision that provides a path to automatic reinstatement of the license upon cure of a violation. This is common in other public licenses, and if included will facilitate the continued use of works by those who correct violations without the need for contacting the licensor directly. This will be particularly beneficial inadvertent violations involving attribution. As currently drafted, the license may be reinstated on the date the violation is cured, “provided it is cured within 30 days of Your discovery of the violation; or upon express reinstatement by the Licensor.”Warranties: CC also recognizes that licensors may wish to express disclaimers and limitations differently than the default license provision. Reasons for this may include differences in their business models or risk portfolios, or because local laws contain special requirements. 4.0 will allow licensors to offer modified disclaimers, as well as to affirmatively offer warranties if they find that desirable.Additional permissions. Finally, while always implicit in our licenses, we choose to make express in 4.0 that licensors may always offer their works under different terms and may always grant more permissions, or waive certain conditions, than the license already provides. This may be useful for educators who choose to use the –ND licenses but who want to offer the ability of others to translate their works, or for those who want to waive attribution without the need for giving written consent, which is the existing mechanism for doing so under 3.0 and prior versions.
Self-explanatory.Links for photos:
One of our highest goals for 4.0 is to bridge divides between incompatible silos of content. We continue our discussions with the stewards of GPL and FAL in particular, so that remixes are possible, expanding the commons of reusable content.The need for and criteria for porting is still being explored, with a formal process starting after publication of the next draft of the licenses. For many, CC’s proliferation of licenses (we steward 550 +/- at present) is confusing, problematic, and an issue to take seriously. We will be doing that in collaboration with our affiliates starting in November.Our improved attribution requirements provide an opportunity for helping licensees easily comply with those wanting to do the right thing. We plan to roll out best practices and guidelines – perhaps even technical solutions – that simplify compliance.We promised NC guidelines for communities to enhance clarity around the existing definition – look for those efforts in the education arena in particular, starting late this year and early 2013. We also continue to evaluate NC stewardship questions such as license naming and branding. That will take place outside of the 4.0 process, and you can expect more on that later this year.AFAIK, this is not part of the NC/ND working group – we decided only on and to do the following:Improve information about which CC licenses align with definitions of "Free licenses”Revive the “license spectrum” graphicProvide descriptive examples of adoptions of Free and non-free licensesAnd we already decided NOT to change name to CCR (commercial rights reserved) and posted.
Self-explanatory.Links for photos:
CC 4.0 for Educators
An Introduction to 4.0 for Education Dr. Cable Green – NOT a Lawyer! Director of Global Learning Creative Commons @cgreen firstname.lastname@example.org
InternationalizationSource: wikiHow, licensed under undera Creative Commons license. Version the licenses to make them stronger and more robust for anyone, anywhere without necessarily requiring porting.
What You Can ExpectClarified, more flexible, still respectful;Easier compliance for teachers, studentsShareAlike as before, no expansion;Reliable re-use with Wikipedia/media contentNo change in definition;No disruption of existing sharing models
Attribution is simplified and more flexible making compliance easier, while still respecting authors’ rights
ShareAlike for adaptations only, as before;(re-)use with Wikimedia/pedia content unchanged
NC unchanged; no disruption of existing NC models, but more clarity of its meaning outside of licenses
Other 4.0 Features Automatic reinstatement upon cure Flexible warranties at option of licensor Clear(er) that additional permissions always allowed by licenses
What’s next? Final draft was published in February; Final comment period underway this month Porting, deed and license chooser discussion pre-launch Launch! (Q2 of this year)
What’s Still Open (inside & outside of licenses)o Compatibility with Free Art License, GPLo Portingo Attribution and marking guidelines and best practices