[cc-licenses] New Generic and ports
peter.brink at brinkdata.se
Sat Oct 7 09:25:32 EDT 2006
Henri Sivonen skrev:
> Considering that Free Software and Open Source has worked fine with
> English-only licenses, that non-Americans are routinely using the
> existing U.S./"Generic" CC licenses and that CC now has a "New
> Generic" license draft that is designed to work globally, what's the
> point of having ports of the 3.0 series instead of using the "New
> Generic" with English as the governing language everywhere?
There are several reasons why "localized" licenses is a must:
1) There may be formal requirements for copyright contracts (or indeed
contracts as such) in certain jurisdictions (both France and Germany for
example has such rules IRRC) that must be met or else the license fails
to come into force.
2) Having a text in the local language, adapted for that jurisdiction
will be immensely valuable if a court needs to analyze the license.
3) Creators will feel safer when using a license written in their own
4) It's necessary to be able to assure creators that the license is
One could compare to how the European Union deals with the problem of
harmonizing rules across many jurisdictions. Resolutions (which are
directly binding legal instruments) and directives (which are binding
legal instruments that must be implemented nationally) are written in
French, translated to German and then to English. All the other 23
translations are based on those three versions. The CC licenses is
probably best compared to a directive. A directive sets up the legal
rules (and the results of those rules) that a member state's legislator
must implement. How that is done is however up tho each member state.
The generic CC-license detail the legal effects (or results) that the
license should have, it is the task of the national CC-groups to
implement this using a legal language that creates the same effects (at
as close as possible) as the generic license. As long as the generic
license is based on U.S. law the differences btw the generic license and
the will by necessity be fairly large. These differences will become
smaller with the new 3.0 license, but (as I wrote above) there will
still be many reasons why we will need to implement the generic license
A major difference btw CC and the EU is of course that CC lacks any
ability to enforce its own interpretation of the license. Disputes about
how the implementation(s) of a EU resolution or directive has been
carried out or about how to understand the rules of a directive or
regulation are arbitrated by the the Court of Justice and the Court of
First Instance of the European Communities. It's btw a serious mistake
to think that CC's opinion on how the license works would have any
impact on how court would interpret the license. It's the parties
opinions that matters.
In fact the entire Open Source is based on the illusion that the GPL
would work the same way in the U.S. and (for example Sweden) - it won't.
One *must* have "localized" license that implements a common set of
effects to be able to, with any kind of certainty, assure creators that
WYSIWYG, i.e. that they can trust the license.
More information about the cc-licenses