[cc-community] CC-BY-SA: specifying a precise means of attribution in the license

Gisle Hannemyr gisle at ifi.uio.no
Thu Jun 11 02:31:50 EDT 2009

smallchange wrote:
> I have a question about the license cc-by-sa-3.0 in particular
> The license dictates that anyone using a work which has this license
> "must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or
> licensor"

Actually, it does not.
The text you quote is from the Commons Deed, not the license itself.
If you click on "Disclaimer" on the Deed, the following appears:
"This Deed itself has no legal value, and its contents do not appear
in the actual license."

So to read the /real/ rules for attribution, you need to look at the
actual license (legal code):
the rules for attribution are in section 4 (a-c).

> Does this mean that I can require that the attribution is represented
> by a hyperlinked URL when it is displayed on any device capable of
> such rather than a URL in plain text or an image of an URL?
> Some people I am having  a discussion with believe that while I may
> give a URL as the attribution for an image I own using this license, I
> cannot stipulate that it must be a clickable URL (or hyperlink).
> I would like to specify that if the image is used in a media that allows
> hyperlinked URLs (the internet generally speaking) then a hyperlink
> must be given, otherwise just the plain text may be given such as in a
> magazine or newspaper.
> They believe that adding this would be modifying the license. But I
> believe that the license allows me to make this request and that it is
> reasonable.
> Could someone say which of us are correct?
> To what extent can I request that I am attributed?
> I contacted creativecommons.org and they pointed me to here.

The license says (on this subject), (4 (c)(iii)):

"to the extent reasonably practicable, the URI, if any, that Licensor
specifies to be associated with the Work, unless such URI does not refer
to the copyright notice or licensing information for the Work;"

It doesn't explicitly say "clickable URI". However, I think that most
reasonable people interprete this it to mean a clickable URI on a medium
that support hyperlinks, and a plain text or image of an URI on a medium
that does not.  The words "to the extent reasonably practicable" to me
strongly suggest that the URI should should be fully functional to the
extent that this is feasible.

You can certainly make such an request, and making such a request would
not modify the license. So if your question if you are allowed to make
such a request, the answer is "yes".

I also think that reasonable users would honour such a request.

However, courts are not always reasonable. If somebody used your CC BY-SA
licenced image form (say) Flickr, and only included a non-clickable the
image of the URL, they would (IMHO) be within the letter of the legal
code. This means that even if you make such a request, you would have no
recourse against such an user.
Gisle Hannemyr ( http://hannemyr.com/ )

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