DRAFT ShareAlike Statement of Intent
With the publication of version 4.0, which allows Adapted Material to be used under the conditions of a later license (instead of, and not in addition to, the original license applied), it has become more important to make a public commitment to uphold the important aspects of the ShareAlike licenses. While we intend to ensure that future license versions maintain the same spirit and general operation as the previous versions, with this change to the license we think it is important to clarify further what users of our licenses can expect. Many of these commitments apply to all of CC’s licenses, not just ShareAlike, but it is in this context that they are currently most important to name.
This is not the same list as the criteria for compatibility. While we expect that many of these will also inform considerations of license compatibility, there may be reasons for a compatible license to differ--for example, while we believe it is important to have a public drafting process, there may be licenses drafted privately which should nonetheless be candidates for compatibility.
This is a commitment to the license-using community for future versioning efforts of the ShareAlike licenses and any of its official translations. (These also apply to any future ported versions.) It is possible that in the future, CC will decide to create a copyleft license that differs from the commitments expressed here.
This statement is in addition to, not a replacement for, the previous statement of intent, which we continue to uphold.
- Any license that CC calls a ShareAlike license must adhere to these commitments.
- The following commitments are to characteristics CC considers essential to the ShareAlike licenses. Any license CC stewards that deviates from these commitments would not be called a “ShareAlike” license, and would not be automatically compatible with previous versions of ShareAlike.
- The SA licenses will always themselves be revised through a public process just as with our other licenses.
- We believe that community input and development in the open is essential to the development of widely-used public licenses, especially where future decisions of the license steward will affect the expectations of current licensors. Creative Commons is committed to continuing to develop the ShareAlike licenses in public, with input from the community of license users and other stakeholders.
- Compatibility with ShareAlike for non CC-stewarded licenses will always be determined by a public, transparent process.
- Because licensors are granting permission for their works to be distributed as part of Adapted Material under the terms of any compatible Adapter's License, it is important that any such license not stewarded by CC be named only after consultation with the license-using community, just as CC licenses are developed through a community process.
- The scope of what is covered by the licenses will never be narrowed, but it may expand.
- Future users of the material should have all of the rights and freedoms that a licensor intended to grant them, and should know that they have them. Ideally, this wouldn't need to change between versions. However, new legislation is being enacted continually that has an impact on the rights granted under copyright, and creating new rights that have similar effects. We've seen this in the relatively recent past with the creation of the sui generis database right and with various broadcasting rights, and we expect this to continue.
- While CC and many in its global network will continue publicly opposing such expansions of copyright-like rights, we need to preserve the ability to address them in the licenses where they do come into effect. The licenses are intended to cover all of the copyright-like rights that may affect a licensee's ability to exercise the core right licensed, copyright--which is why they are licensed alongside the copyright itself. In order for this to continue to be true, the scope of the license may need to expand to cover these as the legal environment in which our licenses operate evolves. However, were we to expand the scope of permissions granted in subsequent versions, permissions withheld under previous licenses would not be granted automatically.
- The licenses will always be made as fully international as possible.
- Early versions (pre 3.0) of the licenses were drafted against U.S. law, which created complications for material created in and shared across many other jurisdictions. The 3.0 suite took the first step toward fixing this problem, and 4.0 took further steps still to address residual difficulties not completely solved in 3.0. Future versions will also be drafted with this principle in mind, addressing the existing and changing legal environments around the world, to better reduce barriers to worldwide sharing; this may necessitate many small changes in newer versions to address these needs.
- The ShareAlike licenses will never attempt to override exceptions and limitations, or regulate uses of material in the public domain.
- While copyleft is a valuable tool for creating a commons of free works, exceptions and limitations to copyright are essential to free expression and upholding the balance that copyright strikes between authors and the public. We do not believe any copyright license can or should attempt to override these through contractual means. To that end, no ShareAlike license will attempt to extend its reach to control uses that are free of regulation or protected by recognized exceptions and limitations to copyright.
- The ShareAlike licenses will always prohibit sublicensing.
- While we believe that allowing the flexibility of complying with conditions of a later version or a compatible license improves the usability of the ShareAlike licenses, we think it's important that the license always flows directly from the licensor to any reusers. It is the original licensor granting the permissions that a user gets, and not anyone who has received the material in between.
- The ShareAlike license will always require attribution, and permit anonymity.
- The attribution requirements have changed across versions, including greater flexibility to allow for many different types of usage, but proper attribution will always be required by the license, particularly an element identifying the author or creator. (But anonymous and pseudonymous authorship will always be permitted--an author may waive this condition, decline to provide a name, or supply a pseudonym to be credited by.)
- The ShareAlike licenses will always be compatible with later versions of the ShareAlike license.
- Any license that shares the same name should be one that has essentially the same features and intended effect as a previous version, even if its exact terms accommodate new situations and new knowledge. Because of this, any future version of ShareAlike should be compatible with previous versions that allow compatibility.
The following comments come from the discussion page. To add a suggestion, you may also comment there.
- Won’t impose any further restrictions/conditions on reuse.
- Won’t include a choice of law or forum selection.
- License will always terminate automatically if violated?
- How to accomodate for licenses which require the release of source code (e.g. GPL)?