[cc-community] Rant about CC licenses

Andres Guadamuz anduril13 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 16 09:36:04 EST 2013

Dear Mitar,

This is an interesting proposal, but I don't think that CC would be a
the best venue to pursue the issue of whether a work should go into the
public domain in the manner that you suggest, mostly because the
question of whether an author can dedicate their own work to the public
domain is still open to debate in many jurisdictions. This is the reason
why CC0 deals with the subject in two manners, firstly, it allows owners
to relinquish their copyright. If this is not possible in that country,
then it acts as a licence.

I have written a report for WIPO precisely on this topic, and it should
be public in May next year (still awaiting some suggested changes from
WIPO). Long story short, the question is not dealt with in many
jurisdictions, which prompts some to claim that it is not possible to
dedicate works into the public domain in some countries.

First we need to get this subject harmonised across the world, and then
CC could try to get a CC-X licence as you suggest. Before that is done,
then CC0 is the best option.

Best Regards,


Dr Andres Guadamuz
Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law
Room 2B14 Mantell Building
University of Sussex Brighton, East Sussex

Tel. 01273 678629

On 16/12/2013 07:41, Mitar wrote:
> Hi
> (Reposting here instead of cc-licenses for a broader discussion.)
> Now after release of 4.0 I can rant a bit about CC licenses. Maybe
> this has already been discussed in the past, sorry, but maybe it is
> time to be discussed again.
> I think we are all agree that CC licenses are a hack, a patch to the
> broken copyright system. But I do not think that the patch goes in the
> right direction.
> CC licenses provide a range of choices for the users. Users can decide
> to allow this or that, but the main issue of copyright they do not
> address: the length of the copyright before it enters the public
> domain. Isn't this the main issue we have about current copyright? Not
> that copyright exists and what it protects, but that the protection
> time is getting longer and longer. And CC licenses do not address this
> at all. They play with some small permissions, sharing, remixing, just
> toys. But not with the real thing: when does work enter public domain.
> So I would propose that for 5.0 CC licenses introduce something new: a
> time limit before work enters public domain. Currently there is only
> one such license: CC-0 which says that the work enters public domain
> immediately. Let's introduce CC-X, which would mean that work enters
> public domain after X years. So somebody could license CC-1, CC-5,
> CC-10, CC-50, whatever he or she wants. But the main point is that
> after those X years, there is no "oh, I want a few years more, my work
> is more successfully than I anticipated and I am rich now", you
> licensed it, it is public domain. Yes!
> This could also be mixed with other licenses, if you want. CC-BY-SA-5,
> means for 5 years it is CC-BY-SA, but then it goes into public domain,
> into CC-0. So every year, it gets one number less, countdown:
> CC-BY-SA-4, CC-BY-SA-3, CC-BY-SA-2, CC-BY-SA-1, CC-0. Happy new year!
> We have more CC works entering public domain. Isn't this the best
> present ever?
> And then we can open a discussion how long should the copyright
> protection be. Then we can have a real data, statistics, how many
> people decide for how long and how much this influence incentives and
> creativity and public domain reuse. Then we will be able to have
> arguments to change the copyright itself, not just be satisfied with
> hacks and patches.
> (There are of course more variations on the theme, but I think you got
> the main idea.)
> Mitar

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