[cc-licenses] Wording issue about Commons Deed

Jedi Jedi at creativecommons.org.tw
Fri Mar 10 04:31:03 EST 2006


Weeks ago, I have a discussion with Mike Linksvayer on IRC. I think that
there currently is a wording issue on CC's commons deed webpages which
may mislead users and make people a little confused.

It's about the discription of CC's "Attribution" element. It was "You
must give the original author credit" (please refer to
http://0rz.net/2d19m ). After CC 2.5 licenses go, Mike told me, the
words were modified to make them more general to cover both
2.0-and-before and 2.5-and-after CC licenses. So it is "You must
attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor"
now, on Commons Deed page of any version of CC licenses.

Here are my points:

1. The Commons Deed is a summary of the key terms of the actual license
   (which is the Legal Code). People think of it as the user-friendly
   interface to the Legal Code beneath.

1.1. Although this Deed itself has no legal value, and its contents do
     not appear in the actual license, Commons Deed should never violate
     actual Legal Code behind it. That is, no over, no lack.

(Point 1. and 1.1. please refer to http://0rz.net/3318N )

2. Main change from CC 2.0 to CC 2.5 is:
   a) restrict users from removing "any reference to such Licensor or
      the Original Author" (2.0) -> restrict users from removing "any
      credit as required by clause 4(d)" (2.5)
   b) in 2.5, clause 4(d) added "if the Original Author and/or Licensor
      designate another party or parties (e.g. a sponsor institute,
      publishing entity, journal) for attribution in Licensor's
      copyright notice, terms of service or by other reasonable means,
      the name of such party or parties; ...." text.

2.1. In short, 2.5 have more specific methology about "Attribution" so
     that users now must obey the manner specified by original
     author/licensor. But 2.0 only require users to give original author
     credit by conveying the name of the original author (or pseudonym,
     if applicable).

2.2. So that "attribute the work in the manner specified by the author
     or licensor" is overmuch accroding to the Legal Code of CC 2.0.

3. Says, there is two people, Ali and Bob. Ali released his work "Artoo"
   under CC:by 2.0 license but also noted "...in order to attribute this
   work, users have to designate publisher CoPix..." Now Bob is willing
   to us Ali's work, "Artoo."

3.1. Although Ali specified a manner to attribute his work, Bob doesn't
     have such duty to follow this manner, according to actual CC
     license which "Artoo" is released under. However, the discription
     of "Attribution" shown on Commons Deed of CC:by 2.0 may make Bob
     think that he have to obey so.

3.2. Worse, Ali may misbelieve that all users have to obey this manner
     when using a CC 2.0 license. He now may have a legal friction with
     Bob in case Bob doesn't obey so.

3.3. Again, because of this misbelief, Ali and other authors don't have
     any mind to push some on-line album service provider, Dlickr, to
     upgrade its licensing mechanism which currently only provide CC 1.0
     and 2.0 licenses for its users.

You see, this is what may happen. I know it's a rare case. But I believe
that prevention is better than repair. So I suggest that we rethink
about the wording on Commons Deed, especially for "Attribution" of
varied version of CC licenses.


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