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This page is designed as a gathering place for suggestions from the community. If you have an idea for an issue that is not yet addressed in one of the issue pages linked from the 4.0 page, please follow this process:

  1. Review the existing issue pages to see if your new idea would fit on an existing page. If so, feel free to add it yourself.
  2. Please refer to the Legal Code Errata[1] page to see if your concern is addressed here.
  3. If the issue is not already addressed, please refer to the License Versions page to review issues debated in prior versions and the CC license discuss archives.[2] If you want to re-open a conversation on an issue or proposal debated in a prior versioning effort, please summarize and link to that prior discussion, indicating why the issue ought be revisited.
  4. If your issue is not adequately covered, you can't find a proper home on these pages, or you would prefer that HQ decide where it best fits on the wiki, please add the issue in the relevant section below.

Disclaimer of warranties and related issues

Please include a description of the issue(s) with links to relevant references where applicable.

Collecting societies

Please include a description of the issue(s) with links to relevant references where applicable.

Choice of law and enforcement issues

Please include a description of the issue(s) with links to relevant references where applicable.

Drafting language and style

Please include a description of the issue(s) with links to relevant references where applicable.

NoDerivs condition

ND has not been nearly as discussed as NC, but it has the same problems of non-freeness and probable over-use. Some of the NC proposals (eg rebranding, dropping, or only keeping one instance of) have ND analogues that ought be separately and thoroughly evaluated.

Other ND issues:

  • Should there be a clarification of what qualifies as "modifications as are technically necessary to exercise the rights in other media and formats"? For example, "algorithmic reductions of the color depth of still or moving images" in case printing in greyscale or b&w is not unambigously an "other media" or "format" unto itself? Proposed at http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-licenses/2012-January/006530.html

(Font) Embedding Issues

This issue comes from the field of font licensing: if you release a font under a CC-SA license, do all users who embed the font in their PDF documents have to put their PDFs under CC-SA as well?

The CC general counsel seems to believe that they do not. The German legal counsel seems to believe that the font creator can use a "font exception" (known from GNU), number 8. of the license notwithstanding.

I tend to see it differently, as do the vast majority of type designers and font publishers; their postition wrt font embedding is very clear and many of them have updated their license agreements to allow font embedding under restrictive terms (subsetting required etc.).

I'm coming from the font side of this, but I can imagine that there are many more fields, where this "if you modify the work itself, you need to reciprocate, if you just use it as it's supposed to be used without modifications, mere embedding/aggregating do not legally force you to use CC-SA" would be beneficial.

Fair use baseline

"CC 4.0 could promote fair use by guaranteeing fair use internationally. Just as the main terms of the CC license are applicable internationally, instead of simply specifying that the CC license doesn’t interfere with or supersede one’s common law or statutory fair use or fair dealing rights (because, you know, how could it?), the CC licenses could guarantee some uncontentious and shared subset of fair use/fair dealing rights as part of the license."

Above from http://blog.tommorris.org/post/14114334627/creative-commons-4-0-proposal-fair-use-baseline and discussion at https://plus.google.com/110114902730268262477/posts/PTnqvZHKEBT

Time-based switch to more freedom

Discussed in cc-licenses thread http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-licenses/2011-December/thread.html#6453

Which freedoms gained?

  • A particular condition (NC) is dropped after time (eg BY-NC-SA work becomes available under BY-SA in a specified year)
    • This being intended as a replacement to current NC-licensing, i.e. CC 4.0 only offer NC licencing with a time-limited NC-condition, thus continuing to support desire for NC, but limit its attractiveness, changing BY-NC to BY or BY-NC-SA to BY-SA after 5, 10 etc. years
  • All conditions dropped after time (eg work under any CC license also becomes available under CC0 in a specified year)


  • Time out of conditions built into all CC licenses, or those specifically to which relevant condition (eg NC) applies; eg part of using BY-NC-ND 4.0 is that work is available under CC0 after 28 years.
  • Specific time-out duration is up to licensor; support built into license deed, license name and equivalent URLs, eg BY-NC(14)-SA for condition expires 14 years after publication or BY-NC(until-2017)-SA for year condition expires. This supports automatic discovery of originally closed-content licenced works that have become open content in the meantime.
  • No specific support for time-out of conditions built into license, but documented, perhaps encouraged in license chooser, means of stipulating a work's availability with more freedoms after some time duration

In the wild examples:

Related, abandoned mechanisms:

Other issues for 4.0

Please include a description of the issue with links to relevant references where applicable.

  • Explicitly support an open data commons addressing the different requirements of:
    • public data providers (protect against abuse & misuse of data products - organisations & individuals credibility & reputations need an assurance) see UK Govt Open Government Licence: "ensure that you do not mislead others or misrepresent the Information or its source;" at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/
      • NOTE: CC licenses already contain a non-endorsement provision (Section 4b of CC BY v.3), which serves a similar function. CC licenses also preserve moral rights, which would often prevent someone from misrepresenting the licensed content. Together, these two aspects of CC licenses are designed to achieve the same effect of the provision in the OGL. Because they track other existing laws (trademark and moral rights), they do this without introducing extra ambiguity.
    • public data consumers (mashup & recognition without attribution, as in one of perhaps hundreds of contributors) as in ODbL from http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/
  • Explicitly support open source, with CC licences consistent with GPL & BSD licences.
    • This is critical in the computer gaming industry, where sound tracks, imagery & code need to have a single consistent licence which is applicable to the entire mix of components.
  • Termination criteria should be relaxed.
    • Any minor mistake that would result in the license compliance would lead to termination. The license says " terminate automatically upon any breach" (taken from CC-BY 3.0 Unported). Any licensee is banned from using the work again, even to correct his mistake. This is too harsh, given that when a licensee want to post something to a blog, wiki, or an SNS, there are a large number of things he needs to do. Quick correction to comply with the license should be accepted if nothing else. Please also see the termination criteria for GPLv3 (Art.8) and GFDL v1.2 (Art 9). These languages were introduced by the latest revision, before which the criteria was as harsh as the CC licenses'.
  • CC-licensed works are not share-able on common platforms. One way to address this issue is to change CC license terms.
    • Many content sharing platforms, and even many of the CC-friendly platforms, require that a user uploading a content will grant a license to use the content for unattributed commercial usage, or give some other licenses without obliging them to give proper credits, not to impose an effective TPM, etc. It means that nobody except for rightholders can upload a CC-licensed work to share with others on those platforms. It also means nobody can share any adaptations of a CC-licensed work on those. Just to cite a few examples both Vimeo[1], and blip.tv[2] had terms of use, last time CCJP members checked, that made sharing of CC-licensed works (RiP! Remix Manifesto with Japanese subtitles) impossible if the uploading user is not the rightsholder. Flickr [3] and some YouTube (JP, UK) ToUs seem to have the same conflict with CC licenses.
    • Although the problem is widespread, it may be difficult to come up with a good language to grant platform owners additional license permissions and waive some of the obligations.
    • NOTE: Relatedly, because CC licenses do not allow sublicensing, anyone other than the rightsholder cannot upload a CC-licensed work to platforms like Facebook. The TOU on Facebook and many other platforms require that the uploader grant a license to the platform for all uploaded content. Other than removing the prohibition against sublicensing in CC licenses (something that would have larger implications), there is probably no way to address this problem in Version 4.0.
  • Consider explicitly introducing an interoperability clause for CC licenses such CC-BY.
    • Right now, it is not clear without close examination of a pair of licenses, for example CC-BY-US 2.0 and CC-BY-JP 2.0 licenses, if they have the exact same set of permissions and obligations. Scope of use permitted by one of those licenses may be narrower than the other, in which case the works under those two different licenses are not compatible to a maximum degree.
    • NOTE: As a general rule, the basic permissions are aligned across all ported licenses. This is arguably the single most important factor for interoperability. Nonetheless, the ported licenses do introduce complexity into the license suite, which can make it difficult for licensees to understand their obligations under different licenses.
  • Consider allowing sub-licensing, for at least adaptations created under BY-SA, but possibly for a lot wider range of uses.
    • The CC-BY-SA licenses are such that content under a version 2.0 cannot be used under the terms of CC-BY-SA 3.0. That means a derivative of a CC BY-SA 2.0 work cannot wholly be released under CC BY-SA 3.0. The same thing could happen between BY-SA 3.0 and 4.0. It is too inconvenient for potential users of the adaptation if there are two or more licenses to follow for different parts of a work.
    • NOTE: Beginning with Version 2.0 of CC BY-SA, the license states explicitly that an adaptation may be released under a later version of CC BY-SA. In other words, if you create an adaptation of a CC BY-SA v.2 work, you may release the adaptation under CC BY-SA v.3. This will also be the case with Version 4.0. Also, it is important to remember that any work that involves a remix of two or more CC-licensed works is subject to more than one CC license. The license always follows the work. See the Treatment of adaptations page for further explanation.
  • Consider providing clearer and more explicit guidance/ provisions as to licenses a licensee using a licensed work can choose to release the work or its adaptation. (In other words, make it easier for people to answer this frequent question: "I want to use this CC-licensed work in a particular way. But under which license can I release the work?"
    • The CC-BY-SA licenses are clear and explicit which licenses a licensee can choose to release an adaptation, IF the licensee is distributing or publicly performing the adaptation. The licenses are not clearly stated, however, the range of choice when the licensee is handing a copy just to a few people, for example. Absent explicit grant of permissions, we should perhaps assume that it is prohibited to choose a later version of the license or CC Compatible license. Absent explicit requirement, perhaps it is okay to even fully copyright the adaptation.
    • "You may not sublicense the Work" is a phrase found in multiple licenses. But such prohibition seem to exist only for a limited type of use - namely, when a licensee "distribute or publicly perform" "the Work". When a licensee shares the work within a small group (which is probably not "distribution" according to CC licenses definition section) or deals with adaptation, there is no such restriction. Does that mean a licensee can sublicense, then? I suppose not, because there is no explicit grant of such permission. But is it arguable in some cases that some implicit grant exist? I don't know the answer to that, but this is at least confusing for non-experts who want to read and understand license.
    • But some would say that this issue may be better handled by a FAQ entry than a provision legal code.


  1. This page contains a list of errors and typos in the licenses. CC will be making changes in 4.0 to correct these problems (assuming the problematic text remains in 4.0).
  2. TK