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Question about Creative Commons

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 by Dave Winer.

I like to ask technical questions here on Scripting News for a few reasons:  Permalink to this paragraph

1. If I have the question, there are probably others who have it too. So everyone has a chance to learn. Permalink to this paragraph

2. We create an archived thread of knowledge on the subject for the search engines. I benefit from other groups that discuss things that I need to know, there's nothing like practical answers to problems real people have. Permalink to this paragraph

3. It gives readers a chance to show off what they know, and gives me a chance to learn about the people who read this site. I am always impressed with the deep knowledge of these people, and their generosity, their willingness to help. Permalink to this paragraph

So with that in mind, I have a technical question about something that isn't technology, but is something technologists are using, the Creative Commons. Permalink to this paragraph

Back in 2004, when the Creative Commons was very new, and I was working at Berkman Center which was one of the proponents of the Commons, it seemed natural to release the RSS 2.0 spec under one of the licenses. Subsequently, it became a common practice in spec-writing, for example when Microsoft released the SSE spec, they also used the Creative Commons. Permalink to this paragraph

It made sense to do so, because it follows in the precedent set by the IETF, the share-alike, for-attribution license, to this non-legal mind, is more or less the same license that the IETF has used for many years for its specs. Permalink to this paragraph

So the question is this -- if there are disputes about a work that's licensed under the Creative Commons, what are the mechanisms available to mediate or arbitrate such disputes? Perhaps such mediation is a service that one of the law schools, Stanford or Harvard, might provide? It seems that when a work is licensed under the CC, there should be some free help available to guide the use of the licensed material, since (I presume) one of the goals of the CC is to encourage creative people to be non-commercial with their works. If there's no way to profit from the work, it seems unfair that it should cost money to enforce the terms of the license (however these days nothing about the legal system seems fair to me). Permalink to this paragraph

So this is a technical question addressed to lawyers who read Scripting News. Thanks in advance for any help you can offerPermalink to this paragraph

Dan O'Shea is a lawyer who is interested in doing this work. Permalink to this paragraph

Creative Commons: "A Creative Commons license terminates automatically if someone uses your work contrary to the license terms." Permalink to this paragraph

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