[cc-community] non-revocable cc license for collection to be donated to an archive?

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Thu Jan 31 16:18:48 EST 2008

drew Roberts wrote:
> On Thursday 31 January 2008 10:31, Terry Hancock wrote:
>>However, on the surface of things, it would seem you should be fine with
>>the CC-By license, because:
> Sure, except if they simply don't grant anyone access to the collection in the 
> first place then the BY license will be of no use to anyone.

This is a good point -- museums have used that for decades to monopolize
photographs and digital images of long out-of-copyright paintings. It
was only a relatively recent ruling in the US that clarified that the
digital images are not "new works" but rather "copies of the work" and
so not copyrightable.

> Again see the comment at the beginning. You will possibly need to contract 
> with them to provide access to the public or whomever you wish to have 
> access.

I agree with this advice.

> The license can handle the rest. Except as Terry notes with any
> derivatives they make. You could try to contract with them that any 
> derivateves they make themselves or via any non arm's length transaction must 
> be licensed BY as well?

I don't think you can legally do that. The problem is that the CC-By
license is granted to anyone who receives the work, and that includes
the Archive. So, anything that the CC-By license allows, you are also
allowing the Archive to do, and that includes copyrighting derivative works.

Questions will arise about what is a derivative work, of course.
There've been a lot of debates on this list (and on cc-licenses, in the
past), about that. It has to be more than just a small alteration. For
example, it's pretty much been established that you don't create a
derivative of a photo merely by cropping it or doing simple
image-processing on it.

Examples of derivatives might include: a collage, a collection guide
which organizes images of the collection objects along with text written
for the guide, a translation of a written work.

I also think that that's the way it should be. You shouldn't attempt to
restrain the Archive *more* than other users, right? I mean, if a
non-free derivative created by the Archive to whom you assigned the
collection is a problem, wouldn't one created by some unknown outside
agency be a *bigger* problem? After all, this Archive is offering to
house all this stuff for you -- they should have at least as much
benefit from it as the public.

If it's a problem for the Archive to create closed derivatives, then it
must be a problem for anyone to do it, and you need to use CC-By-SA. But
that will restrict some of the applications to which the work can be
put, and so if you wish to avoid that, you need CC-By, which was your
original choice.


Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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