[cc-licenses] An "additional permissions" framework [was Re: Time limited CC licenses for version 4.0?]

Luis Villa luis at tieguy.org
Thu Feb 2 23:37:14 EST 2012

On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 10:01 AM, Diane Peters
<diane at creativecommons.org> wrote:
> A reminder that we've posted the time-limited suggestions to the 4.0 wiki:
>  http://wiki.creativecommons.org/4.0/Sandbox#Time-based_switch_to_more_freedom
> Feel free to add more specifics and pros/cons on the wiki page.

I think the idea of relaxing restrictions at pre-determined future
times is a good one, but I think it's a specific case of a more
general issue: the occasional need to draft and attach additional

The GPL community discovered this problem during the late 90s and
early 00s, when it became somewhat common to draft "exceptions" that
were then essentially attached as riders to the license. GPL v3
formalizes this:

“Additional permissions” are terms that supplement the terms of this
License by making exceptions from one or more of its conditions.
Additional permissions that are applicable to the entire Program shall
be treated as though they were included in this License, to the extent
that they are valid under applicable law. If additional permissions
apply only to part of the Program, that part may be used separately
under those permissions, but the entire Program remains governed by
this License without regard to the additional permissions.

When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option
remove any additional permissions from that copy, or from any part of
it. (Additional permissions may be written to require their own
removal in certain cases when you modify the work.) You may place
additional permissions on material, added by you to a covered work,
for which you have or can give appropriate copyright permission.

Essentially, this does three things:

1) Gives licensors/copyright holders (not licensees!) formal
permission to create additional permissions.
2) Explains when and to what extent the additional permissions apply
(either to part of the program, or the whole).
3) Creates a mechanism for *removing* additional permissions, in case
such removal is necessary (primarily for compatibility purposes).

In the longer term, this allows for experimentation that can flow back
to the main license; i.e., if a time-limited exception were to prove
popular, it could be added to new versions of the license later. Given
the high cost of experimenting within the main licenses themselves,
this might be a good compromise for long-term experimentation.

I'm not sure where this fits into the wiki; probably the Sandbox,
where I'm happy to put it, but if it should go elsewhere, or if it
should be discussed here first, I'd be open to that.


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