CC0 Development Process

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CC0 is at 1.0 and ready for adoption. View the legal code and deed, or Choose CC0. You may also be interested in our CC0 FAQs.

Development and Public Comment Process

Creative Commons published three beta versions of CC0 for public comment during 2008. You can track CC0's development, including an overview of the feedback we received and main revisions to the legal code, through our blog postings here: Beta Draft 1 Beta Draft 2 Beta Draft 3. This page captures some of the main issues discussed during the public comment process and how those were resolved in version 1.0 of CC0.

Scope of Rights Surrendered

Several commentators sought clarification on the scope of the rights surrendered: does it just surrender copyright-specific rights, or is it broader and include rights such as patents[1], trademarks, unfair competition, privacy rights, publicity rights, commercial rights, and/or database rights.

We started to clarify these issues in Beta 2, although patent rights were only addressed in the context of facts and ideas and trademark rights were not addressed at all. In its final adoptable form, CC0 now expressly states that neither trademark nor patent rights held by the affirmer are affected by CC0.

It was also suggested during the public comment period that we make clear that the surrender of rights does not affect third party rights related to the content, such as publicity and privacy rights. While this is always the case (none of our legal tools purport to affect third party rights), we decided to include such a statement in the text of CC0 itself, as well as on the deed.

Restrictions and Limitations on Waiving Moral Rights and Related Challenges

Several CCi project leads and community members correctly pointed out the difficulties associated with waiving moral rights, particularly in European jurisdictions. A sampling of those comments can be found here:

  • German Moral rights are unalienable [2]
  • Under Australian law, you can consent to specific instances of infringement of your moral rights, but you cannot waive them. s195AW(1) of the Copyright Act 1968 states that it is not an infringement of moral rights if the infringement is within the scope of written consent given by the author. Comment from Elliott Bledsoe
  • Norway - moral rights issue comment from Gisle(law cite needed)
  • UK may require a signature for waiving moral right 87 (2)" Any of those rights may be waived by instrument in writing signed by the person giving up the right." Suggesting that 87(4) may provide some wiggle room but unsure how well it would work with regards to moral rights. [3]
  • Comment suggesting that moral rights and the conversation from CC v3.01 is relevant [4]
  • A suggestion that the only possible solution under monistic systems with strong moral rights would probably be an assertion to never claim and enforce any unwaivable right in the work, although further suggesting that courts won't be readily willing to uphold such an auxilliary construction designed to circumvene non-dispositive law. cc-license list John Hendrik Weitzmann

Following extensive consultation with our CCi jurisdiction leads, we concluded on a multi-tier approach to this and other similar issues. First, CC0 includes a Statement of Purpose in the legal code that serves in part to impress upon those using CC0 the full scope of the rights they are surrendering and the possible uses to which their works could be put, including commercial uses. Knowledge of the rights being surrendered is one important element in effecting a waiver of moral rights. Second, CC0 incorporates a fall-back public license in the event the waiver is not enforceable for any reason, since in at least some jurisdictions moral rights can be licensed even if they cannot be waived. Finally, even were the fall-back license to fail, then under CC0 the affirmer expressly agrees not to exercise his or her rights or assert claims against others contrary to the express Statement of Purpose.

A Community Effort

Building CC0 over the course of a year required the efforts and dedication of many. Our CCi leads and the broader CC community provided invaluable advice on how to craft a robust, public domain tool intended for universal use. Our pro bono legal counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Latham & Watkins also deserve special mention. Their legal review and analysis provided the heightened level of rigor that users of our licenses and legal tools have come to expect from Creative Commons.

Other Public Domain Dedication Resources and References

CC is not the first to create a public domain waiver or license. Below is a list of some of those tools as well as the projects that use them. If you are involved with these projects and want to discuss migrating to CC0, contact Creative Commons at

Community:LibriVox (audio recordings of PD books)

Name of tool used: CC public domain dedication with additional warning

Text: LibriVox recordings are in the public domain, which means people can do anything they like with them. Mostly this just means people can listen to them for free. But it also means they can: sell them (for instance on ebay), broadcast them, put them in commercials, play them at political rallies, chop them up, remix them, make music recordings of them. The recordings are free, and there is no need to credit LibriVox, although of course we much prefer if you do credit us (with a link to our site).

Here are some other examples of what people might do (and would have the right to do) with our recordings (and, if your record for us, your recordings):

  • make CDs of Romance of Rubber sold as a fundraiser for a charity you don’t like;
  • put Origin of the Species as background atmosphere for a pornographic film;
  • sample Fables for the Frivolous in a violent rap song;
  • use the summary of Frankenstein to promote a major motion picture;

Although these examples are far-fetched, they are all acceptable uses of public domain materials. So be aware of what you are doing when you free your recordings and text into the public domain. You really have to let go!

URL: full text of disclaimer and PD policies

Community:Open Clipart

CC-PD for all art work.

Name of tool: CC-PD dedication

Notes: the website has a footer that claims work is in the public domain and a few mentions of public domain in the FAQ.

Text: The clip art on this website and part of this project are released into the public domain.

URL:basic license embedded in page footer

Community: Educational

Name of tool: Educational PD dedication draft

Notes: This tool has been abandoned

Text: Open Education License Draft Draft 0.9, August 8, 2007. This is a draft document and is not yet intended for use.


The OpenContent Foundation is not a law firm and does not provide legal services. Distribution of this license does not create an attorney-client relationship. The OpenContent Foundation provides this information on an “as-is” basis. The OpenContent Foundation makes no warranties regarding the information provided, and disclaims liability for damages resulting from its use. License

Licensor hereby grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to exercise any and all rights in the Work for which You would require a license under current, applicable law, including (but not limited to) the rights to:

  • Reuse the work verbatim, just exactly as you found it
  • Rework, alter, or transform the work so that it better meets your needs
  • Remix and combine the (verbatim or altered) work with other works to better meet your needs
  • Redistribute the verbatim work, the altered work, or the remixed work

Representations, Warranties and Disclaimer

Unless otherwise mutually agreed to by the parties in writing, licensor offers the work as-is and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the work, express, implied, statutory or otherwise, including, without limitation, warranties of title, merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, noninfringement, or the absence of latent or other defects, accuracy, or the presence of absence of errors, whether or not discoverable. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so such exclusion may not apply to you. Limitation on Liability

Except to the extent required by applicable law, in no event will licensor be liable to you on any legal theory for any special, incidental, consequential, punitive or exemplary damages arising out of this license or the use of the work, even if licensor has been advised of the possibility of such damages.


Subject to the above terms and conditions, the license granted here is perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright in the Work).

URL:Link to tool, explanation of need and community discussion relating to the tool

Community: Internet archive

Tool: CC-PD dedication Notes: the current PD dedication is used to mark both text that are pre 1923 and recent works submitted by others.

URL: Many different sections including moving images, audio

Community: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Notes: Government work, no copyright.

Text: NOAA maintains a library of video footage, which is compiled and categorized by subject. It’s available for the cost of reproduction on a public domain basis — no license or clearance required. It’s requested that you credit “NOAA” or “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” when using the footage.

URL: NOAA website with PD note

Community: Library of Congress

Note: Clear PD item 1917, generic text telling users that the work may be in copyright

Text: The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and other rights holders (such as holders of publicity and /or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Note that there may be U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or other restrictions in these materials. However, the Library is not aware of any copyrights or other rights associated with this material.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with any person intending to use an item.

See our Legal Notices and Privacy and Publicity Rights for additional information and restrictions.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, General Collections.

URL Example work in public domain with link to generic copyright disclaimer

Community: MusOpen

Note: No license just one sentence on PD. Mus open takes music that is in the public Domain and has artists record the music granting all right to the public. There contracts are undergoing revision. They are interested in an easy way to ensure that the recording right make it to the public domain.

Text: Musopen is an online music library of copyright free music (public domain music). We want to give the world access to music, without the legal hassles so common today. There is a great deal of music that has expired copyrights, but almost no recordings of this music is in the public domain. We aim to record or obtain recordings that have no copyrights so that our visitors may listen, re-use, or in any way enjoy music. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.

URL:Mus Open

Community: Open education photos

Note: Photo site of public domain photos, government works.

Text: Images of American Political History. Posting online by Dr. William J. Ball. All images are believed to be in the public domain. Please do not contact me for permission to use them Using the Collection

The intent of this collection is to support the teaching of American political history by providing quick access to uncopyrighted images for inclusion in teaching materials.

All images are strongly believed to be in the public domain. They were obtained from non-copyrighted U.S. government holdings and publications and from published works with clearly expired copyrights. Thus there are absolutely no restrictions on their use.

URL: Teach Politics

Community: Old Books

Note: Exclassics is a website dedicated to older books that use to be considered classics but are no longer widely read. As an example, The Newgate Calendar is a moral reader from the 1850's and is clearly in the PD, there is no mention of copyright on most pages or on the images. The site does contain a basic copyright disclaimer.

Text: No-Copyright notice

This site and its contents are public domain and free to the world. Anything in it may be copied and distributed free of charge or obligation. We expect this policy to be passed on - anyone who copies our texts or web pages and tries to claim copyright for themselves is stealing - not from us, but from you, and from everyone.=

URL: Exclassics Newgate Calendar , Exclassics main page

Community: Open fonts

Note: Public Domain Fonts is a small website that makes all work avalible to the public. This site is typical in the way it uses an informal public domain dedication to grant works to the public. 2 line dedication no legal text simple to read.

Text: "Here are my dabblings in font design. I have placed them in the Public Domain. This is all 100% my own work. Usage is totally unrestricted. If you want to make derivative works for any purpose, please go ahead."

URL: Public Domain Fonts

Community: Open Data

Tool: Database public domain dedication

Note: ODC Public Domain Dedication and License is a similar license and should be considered in the process. comment from Jordan Hatcher other included comment here only deals with copyright and DB rights

Text: Long license too long to place here

copy of the license

Community: Wikimedia

Tool: Public domain assertion tool stating jurisdiction and reason the work is in the public domain

URL:Public domain definitions for States the nature of why a work may be in the PD

Community: Wikipedia

Tool: Pubic domain dedication

Notes: short simple text nonlegal wording.


I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

URL: wikipedia PD-Self