[cc-community] Extending CC into physical space

John Hendrik Weitzmann jhweitzmann at mx.uni-saarland.de
Fri Feb 27 07:15:10 EST 2009


> I'm going to work on CC and Open Design this year, so I'm following
> this discussion with interest

I wrote a little piece on extending free licensing into the world of  
patentable designs, it going to be in the 2nd edition of CCi's  
collective book (whenever that may come ...)

>> I'm trying to work out how to use a CC licence outside of the pure
>> "information" space.

CC does extend a little, because media with CC content on them are  
covered as copies, and performances anyway.

>> I produce model kits, and over time various kits cease to sell well
>> enough to be worth producing as a business but demand never quite hits
>> zero. So it's a classic long tail.

there's also a group sharing designs for model trains, called Open  
Draw Community, see http://open-draw-community.de/odcbb/

they have AFAIK some problems with people selling models based on  
drawings that are NC-licensed.

>> My first thought was to release the artwork for some of the brass kits
>> under a CC licence so that people can produce their own copies if they
>> really really want or can find a group of people together to produce a
>> set. That bit is fairly easy.
>> Where it all goes pear shaped is that people will want to make
>> modifications - to improve it, to produce with different matters, or
>> different sizes etc.
>> The CC attribution, sharealike license extends to the artwork but
>> doesn't
>> cover the results. Thus someone could improve the kit and providing
>> they
>> don't share the artwork itself take their improvements effectively
>> out of
>> the CC space.

well, under german law the copyright protects the immaterial essence  
of the work, regardless of the form it is expressed in. So any 3D  
model of an artwork would still be a derivative (if it is not so far  
away from the artwork that the CC license on the artwork is out of the  
game anyway).

I only see problems when it comes to features of the artwork in  
question that are outside of the scope of copyright, i. e.  
technological solutions laid down in a drawing and such things.
That can only be dealt with on the basis of regimes around commercial  
rights in design. Although CC licenses from their wording cover those  
rights as well, they usually require some kind of registration or  
brand to come into existence in the first place. As copyright exists  
w/o registration, that is not something CC licenses talk about.
Any approach towards real open design will need to integrate the  
registration requirements in some way or the other.

>> I can clearly hack something out using the CC+ setup, but its a hack.

I doubt that CC+ can be used to make up for a missing patent or other  

>> Currently this is a fairly obscure area but with the rise in 3D
>> printing
>> the time before CC needs to have this debate about things like
>> printing
>> CC furniture or kitchen utensils is not long (at least in legal
>> terms) so
>> I was a bit suprised that it doesn't seem to be being addressed or
>> even
>> on anyones radar.

it probably is on many peoples radar but not so much around copyright,  
at least not that I know.

>> Is there a better way to hack CC to do this or does the world need a
>> GNU
>> Physical Object Licence or similar ?

hacking CC must end in some very dirty hack ;)
IMHO we in fact do need something like a Design Commons License, but  
that is more of an effort than with any copyright license.

best regards,

John Hendrik Weitzmann
CC-DE Legal Project Lead

Europäische EDV-Akademie | Institut für Rechtsinformatik
des Rechts (EEAR)        | Universität des Saarlandes
Torstraße 43a            | Geb. A54
D-66663 Merzig           | D-66123 Saarbrücken

john at creativecommons.de

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