[cc-licenses] newbie question on Creative Common License: Licensor Warranty of Rights Ownership?

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Sat Mar 25 02:21:53 EST 2006

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 00:50:05 -0500
"DeepNet" <dan at deepnettech.com> wrote:
> I was thinking that the user, prior to uploading, would
> have to agree that they are submitting their work to us
> under the Creative Commons License noted above.

Absolutely. You want this clear.

> - I want to protect myself from people submitting works
> that they DO NOT have copyright ons (i.e. they submit
> someone elses work, and accept the CC license anyway).

Don't mess around, people can be stupid about that (ever
seen a "GPL" desktop theme based on licensed commercial
anime characters?  I have.). Make it headline font (h4 or
h3). It can be especially important if you aren't likely to
recognize infringements because your subject-matter is too
broad for you to be deeply familiar with the licensed
material, and if you are hoping to get highly professional
submissions (it's obviously self-defeating to think "Oh,
that work is too good, it must be stolen commercial work"!)

> - In effect, I would like the license to say something
> like, "Licensor warrants, to the best of their ability,
> that they own the copyright to the Work, or otherise have
> rights to  the Work to allow this license to be valid"...

You can find some boilerplate on the web somewhere, I'm
sure, or you can write it yourself (you seem to have the
idea already).

> - I've read the CC license generated above, and I don't
> see anywhere where the Licensor gaurantees this kind
> of thing to the Licensee?

Because the agreement or grant of a license is not by
its nature part of the license itself.

> - Is this a common problem? Is it in there, or handled
> in some other way? Can/Should I add a second agreement
> they must also accept that simple states this as an extra
> thing? Where would I get such legalese, if required?

Absolutely common, necessary, and yes you can.

> - I understand that even if this is covered, or I add it,
> that I can still be held libel for re-publishing protected
> works (witness Napster, etc.). In such cases I would
> remove the offending work of course. 

Since the party uploading has warranted to you
that they have the right to do so, you have a defense if
anyone tries to apply punitive claims against you.  You
still would have to remove the content of course -- but
this could be major, the way certain parties have been
pursuing what they perceive as their God-given rights to
collect on the product of their artistic serfs.

> But, I want my users
> to explicitly see this requirement, and be plain and up
> front (I imagine it as an extra bullet on the CC license
> summary page, which I'm surprised it's not there).

It will be much more effective for you to provide it
at the top of the form for submission. If you *really* want
to be covered, make it a checkbox or click-through ("Check
this box to indicate that you have read and agreed to the
following statement...").

Another point you don't mention: Make sure the upload form
has some kind of field like "The proper attribution for this
work will read ___".  I've seen a lot of Attribution
licensed stuff for which it is very hard to find the correct
attribution (Do I *really* attribute this to
'L337_BubbaSnark' when I publish it in my magazine? I know
that when I ask for attribution I want my *name* attached
to it, not some forum username -- but others feel

Also, if you are a developer, you know Python, and
especially if your site will feature large files (e.g.
multimedia), then you should check out CC's "ccPublisher"
project -- the new design has been modularized so that it
would be easier for you to adapt it as a client upload tool
for your site (this would make it possible to support
multiple CC licenses, ensure the user has chosen their
license correctly, etc.  It also is more reliable than an
HTML form for uploading large documents).


Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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