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Revision as of 04:13, 1 December 2011 by CCID-diane peters (talk | contribs) (Internationalization as of 3.0)
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This page presented an issue for consideration in the CC license suite 4.0 versioning process. The discussions have now concluded with the publication of the 4.0 licenses, and the information on this page is now kept as an archive of previous discussions. The primary forum for issues relating to the 4.0 versioning process was the CC license discuss email list. You may subscribe to contribute to any continuing post-launch discussions, such as those surrounding compatibility and license translation. The wiki has been populated with links to relevant email threads from the mailing list where applicable, and other topics for discussion were raised in the 4.0/Sandbox. See the 4.0 page for more about the process.

Page Summary: One of our highest goals for the 4.0 process is to ensure that our licenses operate globally and atop applicable copyright law as intended. This page provides context for making internationalization of the license language and terms an express priority for 4.0, and aggregates relevant considerations and proposals for improving still further the international reach and usability of the core licenses.

N.B. Internationalization is not a guise for ceasing the porting process. We respect the important role that porting has played and continues to play on many levels, including acceptance of CC licenses by important adopters. Regardless of porting discussions, further internationalization of the licenses in 4.0 is critical for the continued maintenance and improvement of the licenses. We expect the assistance of our legal affiliates in particular in helping us achieve this goal.

Prior to the conclusion of the 4.0 versioning process CC will open a formal consultation with our affiliates and the broader community on the anticipated need and desire for porting of the 4.0 licenses. That will take place before the 4.0 licenses are finalized (estimated in 3Q2012) and will be informed by issues raised during the drafting process. For those in our community wishing to voice opinions on the subject in advance, please post those to our existing Porting Project discussion page. During this first phase, this page and forum will be dedicated to identifying necessary and important changes to the language of the international licenses only. Please read more below for how you can contribute to this objective.Italic text.

Internationalization as of 3.0

Prior to version 3.0, CC drafted the core license suite against U.S. copyright law, referring to those licenses as the "generic" or "unported" licenses. With 3.0, Creative Commons changed its approach and deliberately chose to use the language of major international copyright treaties and conventions in its international suite. [1] We introduced a new provision in the unported licenses (renamed the "international licenses" in 2009/2010) to make this explicit and provide an automatic localization rule of interpretation for the international licenses:

The rights granted under, and the subject matter referenced, in this License were drafted utilizing the terminology of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (as amended on September 28, 1979), the Rome Convention of 1961, the WIPO Copyright Treaty of 1996, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty of 1996 and the Universal Copyright Convention (as revised on July 24, 1971). These rights and subject matter take effect in the relevant jurisdiction in which the License terms are sought to be enforced according to the corresponding provisions of the implementation of those treaty provisions in the applicable national law. If the standard suite of rights granted under applicable copyright law includes additional rights not granted under this License, such additional rights are deemed to be included in the License; this License is not intended to restrict the license of any rights under applicable law.[2]

===Logic for further internationalization=== Further internationalization of the CC license suite is a high priority:

  • An all too frequent complaint and apparent inhibitor to adoption of CC continues to be the perception (justly deserved at times, thought we're working on that! [3]) that CC and its licenses are "U.S.-centric." This adversely affects our entire community, not just CC headquarters.
  • Although 55+ jurisdictions have ported some version of the CC licenses to their jurisdiction, there are more than twice that number of signatories to major copyright treaties that do not have ported licenses in their jurisdictions.[4] We want to be sure that the international suite addresses the needs (both legal and cultural) of users in all jurisdictions.[5]
  • Having a more internationally accepted and understood license suite gives added confidence to those who do not wish to use a ported license for any number of reasons.
  • Licensing data suggests a trend in preference for using the international licenses over ports, thus the benefit of ensuring the international suite is as understood and widely-accepted as possible. [6]

=== 4.0 drafting and policy considerations ===

  • To successfully accomplish the goal of further internationalization, full participation and engagement by all of our CC affiliates (including those who have successfully ported the licenses) is expected, as well as the participation of broader community. Please help identify ways we can improve the international suite to remove impediments to their usability in your jurisdiction (see below).
  • Creative Commons licenses have a solid enforcement record as currently drafted.[7] Introducing new or modified language or terms and conditions should be done cautiously to avoid compromising this record. This consideration applies to all aspects of the 4.0 drafting process.
  • The international licenses have been (and will continue to be) used in both civil law and common law jurisdictions. Are there improvements that ought be made to further ensure that the international licenses operate and are interpreted consistently across both systems?
  • Creative Commons 3.0 licenses are drafted using terminology found in important international conventions and treaties. [8] What additional conventions and treaties should be consulted and what else ought be kept in mind if, as anticipated, the version 4.0 licenses are drafted for further global reach and use?

[Please add other considerations here.]

Proposals for internationalization in 4.0

[Note: these proposals are not necessarily mutually exclusive]

Please help us identify ways that the licenses can be improved so they operate as well as possible in your jurisdiction. Use this space to identify general drafting proposals and over-arching improvements that could be made. For proposals related to specific provisions of the licenses, please do not add those here but instead include those in an already-existing topic page or in the Sandbox.

  • Further align license definitions with those used in international copyright treaties such as Berne, the Rome Convention, and the WIPO Copyright Treaty where possible, accounting for differences.
    • Pros:
    • Cons:
    • Other comments:
  • Incorporate universal drafting conventions and styles in the licenses (to date, based largely on U.S. conventions and styles).
    • Pros:
    • Cons:
    • Other comments:
  • Account for differences between laws using accepted language and/or provisions that make clear that terms and conditions apply to the fullest extent permitted by (but not in contravention of) applicable law.
    • Pros:
    • Cons:
    • Other comments:

[Please add other proposals here]

Related debate

We encourage you to sign up for the license discussion mailing list, where we will be debating these and other 4.0 proposals. HQ will provide links to related email threads from the license discussion mailing list here.

Relevant references

Please add citations that ought inform this 4.0 issue below.


  1. See the version 3.0 announcement explaining changes.
  2. See Section 8(f) of the 3.0 international licenses.
  3. TK
  4. For example, there are more than 160 contracting parties to the Berne Convention.
  5. CC is also aware that many jurisdictions that have ported licenses in the past do not want to port in the future for any number of reasons. Those jurisdictions will also be served better by enhanced internationalization of the core, international suite.
  6. See Slide 7 of The future of noncommercial presentation from the CC 2011 Global Summit.
  7. See the case law database.
  8. See XXX for one analysis of how the definitions in version 3.0 align with conventions and treaties as of 2007.