[cc-community] Public-domain-style licenses (was Re: Why "Wiki license" = CC-BY-SA?)

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Fri Jan 18 09:19:29 EST 2008

On Thursday 17 January 2008 23:11:28 Terry Hancock wrote:
> Greg London wrote:
> > There are three basic licenses:
> > All Rights Reserved (page 50).
> > Public Domain (page 48).
> > Copyleft (page 40).
> This is of course an enormous oversimplification, as your own books
> point out.
> Beyond that, though, I thoroughly agree with Evan that CC-By, MIT/X11,
> BSD etc are *NOT* "public domain" licenses. Not even in the abstract. So
> I also find your usage causes some cognitive dissonance when reading
> your works (I have to mentally substitute "free/non-copyleft" for it).

If I read my own mind properly, it does not cause me any cognitive dissonance 
even though I do a similar mental substitution.
> All of these licenses make specific requirements in exchange for the use
> of the work which depend on the copyright to make them valid.
> Specifically, they all *legally enforce* attribution.
> It might be reasonable to call the new "CC0" license a "public domain
> license" (although some people would call that phrase an oxymoron
> because anything in the public domain neither has nor needs a license).

I am not so sure of that last statement in this day and age.

One simple example:

I make a work which for whatever reason does not get an automatic copyright. I 
don't know this. You may not know this either.

Let's say I think it does get a copyright and slap a CC BY-SA on it.

Let's say I have another similar work which I think does not warrant a 
copyright so I slap a CC0 on it just in case it does.

Do you see what I am getting at here?
> I think that "CC0" means a license without even the attribution
> requirement, so it approximates public domain.

Since we are talking public domain here:

What is it?

Works created before copyright laws came up.

Works whose copyrights have expired.

Works that do not warrant a copyright?

Other things? (If so, what?)
> With public domain works, you do not have to keep ANY kind of license or
> attribution information. 

Well, depending on who you are. In some circles, holding back on attribution 
can land you in hot water, no?

> This is a "door" that you don't discuss in 
> "Libre Labyrinth", and it is a much less controversial one, because most
> people aren't bothered by tracking attribution, but it is there,
> nevertheless. There are even some circumstances under which this can be
> a quite onerous requirement (like the BSD advertising clause was).

Hey, the CC licenses can suffer from this as well. I haven't figured out any 
decent solution to propose for this issue yet either.
> Cheers,
> Terry

all the best,


More information about the cc-community mailing list