[cc-licenses] New Generic and ports

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Sun Oct 8 04:15:04 EDT 2006

On Oct 8, 2006, at 02:34, Andres Guadamuz wrote:

> Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> Moreover, if you don't accept the license, you don't get the rights,
>> so a prospective licensee has an incentive to figure it out.
> Why assume this?

I am observing that Free Software licenses only grant you rights if  
you accept the license.

> If there is an enthusiastic group of people who have
> bothered to translate the licence for you, and to make sure that it is
> compatible with your local legislation, why not use it?

Because having subtly different versions creates license proliferation.

> Why make things more difficult when it can be easier?

I see multiple versions as more difficult.

It seems just wrong to me that even the U.S., England & Wales,  
Scotland, Canada and Australia have distinct licenses although they  
share a language *and* a legal tradition.

Moreover, if I read those licenses and Finnish licenses and Swedish  
licenses and French licenses and Canadian French licenses, I still  
wouldn't know what e.g. the Dutch licenses say.

>> The official party line has been that they are not mere translations
>> but ports.
> Can you please cite evidence that this is official party line?


> ports are also translations (where required). IMHO, this is extremely
> important to the stated goals of the movement.

Do you mean CC by "movement"? What are the stated goals other than  
exploring the "Some Rights Reserved" spectrum (without any baseline  
definition like the Free Software Definition)?

>> Yet, even people close to CC tend to think of them as mere
>> translations.
> Again, can you provide evidence for this?

Your next paragraph, for instance, suggests that you can read them as  

>> Of course, in practice people will treat them as
>> translations. If there's a language-independent photo licensed under,
>> say, a Dutch CC license, most people around the world are going to
>> read the Dutch license but a license in some other language.
> The general principles are similar in all ports, so it is fine to look
> at a Chinese, English, Spanish, French or Portuguese version of the  
> same
> licence in order to understand what the terms and conditions are. I  
> will
> keep repeating this, but not everybody in the world speaks English
> fluently. As I mentioned in my previous post, local courts can use  
> their
> local licence for interpretation even if the creator has used the
> Generic English licence.

What authorizes courts to apply a local license instead of the one  
the licensor used in cases of verbatim copying (where the  
jurisdiction change clause on derivative works does not apply)? What  
would happen if CC did not provide ports? E.g. what happens with the  
Sampling license?

>> So does CC believe that people in country X can't use works licensed
>> under a license from country Y, because the license from country Y
>> doesn't follow the conventions of X?
> These are not "conventions". This is law. A Scottish licence may  
> not be
> a contract in the United States, and an American licence may not be a
> valid in Europe. This has nothing to do with CC's ideas, it is a  
> fact of
> International Private Law.

Does CC believe that the approach that FSF has taken with GPLv3,  
GFDLv2 and GSFDL is legally flawed? (Those licenses attempt to take  
into account issues from various jurisdictions in the original  
without having a separate license for each jurisdiction. Translations  
are allowed, but English is the prevailing governing language if the  
translations disagree.)

If CC believes that the approach FSF has taken is flawed, what's the  
point of the "New Generic" license (which is distinct from the U.S.  

If CC believes that the approach FSF has taken is not flawed, doesn't  
it follow that CC is creating complexity for no good reason?

>> If I write in
>> English, which I do a lot, using a Finnish-language license makes no
>> sense. (Due to the way the world works, this is not symmetric and an
>> English-language license for Finnish-language content is still
>> practical.)
> Why does it not make sense to use the Finnish licence?

Because the population in the world that can verify what it says in  
minuscule compared to the population that could verify what an  
English-language license says.

You cannot see what a Finnish license says by reading a Canadian,  
U.S., Scottish, English & Welsh or Australian license, because even  
those five are different among themselves!

> Even if you write
> in English, where would you expect to litigate if you were in a  
> dispute
> over the licence?

I prefer not to litigate, but if I was in a situation where I had to  
litigate, I'd prefer to do it in Helsinki, Finland. It does not  
follow that the license could not be written in the English language.

>> Why can't the licenses contain a blanket waiver for what is waivable
>> and that CC doesn't want specifically to retain? What is not waivable
>> cannot be waived anyway.
> If only it were that easy... During the last iCommons summit I believe
> that we counted five different ways in which present jurisdictions
> handled moral rights and waivers, most of them incompatible with each
> other. I don't know why complicate an already complex licence with  
> five
> possible eventualities regarding moral rights, when there are people
> willing to prot the licence to fulfil the local treatment of moral  
> rights.

If they are incompatible, how can I know what I am dealing with by  
reading the licenses for other jurisdictions like you suggested  
above? If they are incompatible, how can the cross-jurisdiction  
license change clause of CC-by-sa work?

>> Can't the Generic version be in user-friendly language? Does the U.S.
>> *require* unfriendly language to be used?
> Why should it when only the UK requires user-friendly language?

Because user-friendly language seems to be a generally good idea  
unless it is specifically prohibited somewhere.

> (have you ever read the GPL?).

Yes. Moreover, I have read all the authoritative versions of GPLv2-- 
the only one.

> Besides drafting, consumer contracts are subject to stringent
> unfair terms rules in Europe, so our warranty waivers have to be  
> worded
> differently than what you will find in American licences.

Would following the stringent European rules in the U.S. be wrong?

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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