[cc-community] CC licenses and compulsory licenses.

drew Roberts zotz at 100jamz.com
Tue Jan 29 21:59:12 EST 2008

Was from cc-licenses: Thoughts on new wording RE collection societies etc.

This is prompted by questions Kevin Phillips has been asking. But it may be of 
interest to others.

Kevin, there are such things as compulsory licenses when it comes to 
copyrights in some places at least.



So, what can happen is this. You can put any CC license you want on your song. 
Or even just a straight copyright with all rights reserved.

If your work is subject to a compulsory license, anyone who is eligible  for 
such a license does not need your "permission" to use your works and you 
cannot set the terms. The law of the compulsory license overrides your 

So practically, if your license is better for someone then the compulsory 
license, they can use your license. If the compulsory license is better for 
them than the one you offer, they can use the compulsory license.

So, it is not that the NC license allows commercial use. It is that the 
copyright holder either offers another license for commercial uses or a user 
makes use of the compulsory license instead of using the CC NC license.

This is my first attempt at explaining this. Please improve this if you can 
everyone. And I am not a lawyer and I am not attempting to give legal advice 
of any kind. Ever. But I think this may help at least some others to work out 
some of these interactions.

all the best,


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