[cc-licenses] CC User License?

Prodromos Tsiavos p.tsiavos at lse.ac.uk
Mon Mar 6 16:08:42 EST 2006

Dear Brian,


This is a really important task! We are doing similar work in the London School of Economics in relation to depicting in the form of icons the basic terms of various licences or contracts. I guess this is somewhat different from what you are trying to do but it shares the same objective: making terms and conditions of contracts accessible to end users. The problem with such schemes is that if you go just for better language then there is always going to be a number of users that still wont understand the context; if you go for icons or commons deed type of approaches then some of the elegance of the legal constructs is lost. 


I have suggested to JISC in England and Wales to actually prepare a series of guidelines for how IPR contracts between educational institutions and academics or students could be classified. A very interesting related project called TrustDR has also offered to provide me with standard IPR contracts in higher education in EW in order to review them and offer some guidelines but the compilation of the compendium seems to be more difficult than originally expected. 


Once you move ahead with your project, my students would be very interested in assisting in creating icons (or as Jon Bing from Oslo University calls them  copymarks) for your guidelines.






From: cc-licenses-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:cc-licenses-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Brian Erdelyi
Sent: Δευτέρα, 6 Μαρτίου 2006 10:26 μμ
To: Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts
Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] CC User License?


I've been reviewing terms currently found in many EULAs.  The consensus with stopbadware.org and antispywarecoalition.org is that vendors who disclose the nature of their software and obtain informed consent should not be considered spyware or unwanted.


I sincerely believe that vendors want to inform users about their software and the terms and conditions of using it without being deceptive.  My concern is that EULAs are too ambiguous, long and inconspicuous for average consumers to truly understand.  I could show you samples from four different vendors on how they describe something like “contains pop-up ads”.  All of them describe it in different ways and in different locations making it next to impossible for a consumer to easily understand such terms and conditions.  Whether the terms include “user will be monitored”, “do not criticize this product publicly”, “no reverse engineering”, “do not use with other software”, “you agree to future terms without notice” or others, consumers need to be informed in a consistent and concise way in order to provide informed consent.


Based on my research of current EULAs I am devising a guideline to help others represent the terms of these agreements, particularly those terms that impact control over the user’s experience, privacy and system security.  I am not judging the legality, enforceability or appropriateness of a particular term.  Rather, I’m identifying common terms currently in use and proposing more consistent and concise language to represent them.  I expect this will help other groups advise and recommend consumers what terms to be careful of and why.


Once such a guideline is available I envision the development of additional tools and resources to improve user awareness so others can better choose what is acceptable to them and guide others in representing such terms.  This would be complimentary to traditional EULAs as it only represents a subset of conditions that impact control over the user’s experience, privacy and system security.


What do you think?

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