License Proposal: Non-Copyleft Free Content License

Glenn Otis Brown glenn at
Sat Nov 1 22:07:46 EST 2003

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for writing. I may be missing your point here -- in which case,
let me know -- but every Creative Commons license that does not include a
"share alike" provision is a non-copyleft license. I am going by the
general GNU GPL definition of copyleft, meaning a license that requires
licensees to offer derivations back to the public on exactly the same
terms they were offered. 

I suspect you are working from a different definition of copyleft: a
license that imposes _no_ requirements on licensees other than, say,
continued notice of the license terms. If that's the case, then you're
right: we have no license like that.  We've considerd one before but
thought that the demand for it might be too limited. That was before we
had launched, though, and if it turns out that people want this, we'll
consider it. I'll pass it on to the team and board. 

Thanks again for your input.


On Sat, 1 Nov 2003 03:01:02 +0200, "Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller"
<sloyment at> said:
> Hi,                                             (IANAL TINLA)
> I have noticed that there is not yet a non-copyleft free content 
> license on your website. Instead, you encourage people to put 
> their work into the Public Domain. This is a bit problematic, 
> because AFAIK, in Germany and other parts of Europe, the only 
> way to do so is to die and then wait 70 years, i.e. it is not 
> possible to abandon ones own copyright.
> Besides that, a non-copyleft license would also be useful for 
> compatibility reasons, until one day there will finally be one 
> accepted *standard* copyleft license for free content (or a 
> copyleft law or no copyright law anymore).
> Therefore, I hereby propose the non-copyleft license below. 
> Please check it for legal or logical incosistencies. Maybe you 
> would like to consider adding it or a derivate thereof to your 
> license collection. 
> The proposed license explicitly lists all the rights that are 
> enumerated in the German Authors Rights Law (s. §15 ff), thus 
> explicitly allowing broadcasting, public playback etc. IMHO it 
> should also list further usages that require permission under 
> other jurisdictions, if there are any.
> The license however features some voluntary copyleft clauses that 
> are not legally binding. They are only there to clarify the 
> intention of the license, but their wording would IMHO be too 
> vague and ambingous to make them legally binding. It has turned 
> out to be too difficult for me to design a logically consistent 
> copyleft license.
> cu,
> Thomas }:o{#
> - - - - -
>   Non-Copyleft Free Content License
>   ---------------------------------
> This license inteds to grant the users of a work the maximum 
> of freedom, while staying compatible with other free content
> licenses. This license applies to any work that has a note 
> attached, stating to be is licensed under this license.
> You and everybody else are granted free of charge the 
> non-exclusive, perpetual right to do whatever you like with 
> the work, including but not limited to the right
>  * to copy or record the work,
>  * to distribute the copies or recordings,
>  * to exhibit the work (e.g. in its physical form),
>  * to recite, to perform, or to otherwise realize the work,
>  * to broadcast the work, 
>  * to play back the work in the public (e.g. from a recording or
>    transmission), and
>  * to make it available in public networks.
> You are also allowed to modify your copies of the works, and to 
> execute the above rights on the modified work.
> You are encouraged, but not required
>  * to license your modified versions of the work to everybody
>    under the same terms,
>  * to allow other people to freely record and reuse your
>    performances, and also to encourage them to do so,
>  * to publish a note on each copy, thus informing the public
>    that the work is freely licensed, and
>  * to give the authors and performers of the work attribution.
> permitted by applicable law.
> - - - - -
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> cc-licenses at
Glenn Otis Brown
Executive Director
Creative Commons
glenn at
+1.650.723.7572 (telephone)
+1.415.336.1433 (mobile)

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