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This is a page for the CC Publishers Association, a small group that meets semi-regularly to discuss questions about CC licensing and to establish best practices for publishers and others using Creative Commons’ legal tools.


Feb 21, 07 meeting notes (transcribed by Amit Asaravala, originally posted here:


  • Amit Asaravala, Manager of Editorial and Content Strategy, TechSoup
  • Eric Steuer, Creative Director, Creative Commons
  • Unnamed attendee (waiting for approval to publish name)
  • Unnamed attendee (waiting for approval to publish name)
  • Unnamed attendee (waiting for approval to publish name)

The focus of this meeting was mainly Q&A. Eric answered many questions that the attendees had about specific use cases.


  • Amit: How much or how little does an article need to be modified before the modifications constitute a derivative work (and therefore the modifier now owns the copyright on the derivative?)
    • Eric: In general small changes, like fixing typos or changing to British English spelling or updating punctuation to fit your house style does not constitute a derivative work.
  • Can a license on a particular item of content be retracted or changed down the road if you change your mind?
    • Technically, yes, you can stop publishing your work under a CC license -- but you can't require people who have already obtained your work under the previous CC license to stop using it or redistributing it. So in practice, you pretty much have to assume that once your work is out there under a particular license, it's going to stay out there under that license.
      • That said, you can make your license less restrictive, in which case new people who use your content will use it under the new license. People who have already obtained your content can either keep doing what they're doing or take advantage of the new, less restrictive licensing terms.
  • Can you license your content to a publisher under an exclusive agreement and still release it under a CC license?
    • No, by its definition, an exclusive agreement allows only that publisher to distribute or otherwise use your work. This goes against the point of a CC license, which is to allow others to use your work without signing individual agreements.
  • If, as a publisher, I distribute content that others have provided to me under a CC-Noncommercial license, does that mean I can't sell ads to help support my business? (For instance, if I operate a video sharing site where I let people upload their content and license it to others under a CC-Noncommerical license...)
    • Eric: Yes, you can. It's best to think of it this way: The content owner (who owns the copyright to a given video) is not actually releasing his video to you, the site operator, under a CC-Noncommercial license. Rather, he's letting you publish his video under a nonexclusive agreement that gives you permission to make commercial use of the video. For everyone else, he's making the video available on your site under a CC-Noncommercial license. This "dual licensing" is possible because, as the copyright holder of a CC work, you're still free to form other licensing agreements with publishers so long as those agreements are nonexclusive.
    • Eric: has a presentation about YouTube and noncommerical licenses that we should get ahold of.
  • Can you license different versions of a content item under two different licenses? For instance, two different resolutions of a graphic image?
    • Eric: Yes, if the two versions are clearly distinguishable. A thumbnail could be CC-licensed, while the full image could be All Rights Reserved. However, something that's just a pixel off from the original does not constitute a separate content item with a separate copyright. (This falls under the "reasonable use" area, the same way that updating some punctuation in an article doesn't make it an entirely new work.)
  • Do you have to use CC metadata, like ID3 tags, in your content in order for it to be officially CC licensed?
    • Eric: No, but it's good to have, since some search engines and other technologies will be better able to find your content and automatically digest the licensing terms.
  • How can you publicly specify the type of CC license you're using on, say, a podcast?
    • Eric: CC has some PSA-style audio snippets that CC has created that you can insert into your podcast if you'd like. There's a CC media page in the works that'll make these snippets available.
  • Has CC licensing been contested and/or upheld in a court of law?
    • Yes, twice. See Adam Curry / tabloid case as one example.


  • Example of publisher that distributes content contributed by others under a CC license but still benefits:
    • See how Flickr requires a link back to its site as part of the attribution clause. This helps Flickr get recognition and traffic, but allows the content owner to maintain control over the licensing terms.
  • Examples of music sites using CC licensing:
    • jamendo
    • magnatune
    • ccmixter
    • splicemusic
    • jamglue
    • beatpick


  • Set up a mailing list so publishers can email each other questions/answers when they run into issues.