[cc-licenses] Request for feedback: termination and cure

Sarah Pearson sarah at creativecommons.org
Thu Feb 21 18:00:04 EST 2013

As you have seen, we are gradually sending out a series of emails designed
to provoke discussion about several topics relating to draft 3. Kat Walsh
sent out the first and second of those emails earlier this week. Those
emails explained specific changes to the attribution and marking
requirements. In the next week, we will be sending further emails dedicated
to issues surrounding license compatibility and interpretation.

This email is designed to highlight important changes to the termination
provision in 4.0.

In all prior versions of CC licenses, termination was automatic when a
licensee breached the terms and conditions, and the only way for a licensee
to get permission to use the licensed material again was to contact the
licensor directly. Because licensors can be difficult, if not impossible,
to find and contact (e.g., when there are multiple licensors), the
practical result was often that a licensee was no longer authorized to use
the material (and was thus potentially liable for copyright infringement)
if she failed to comply with the license in any way, even if the violation
was minor and/or unintentional, and even once she fixed the problem.

During the 4.0 process, we heard from many of you in the community that
this was problematic. Many users of CC-licensed works expressed concern
that any unintentional misstep could permanently end their rights under the
license. Others noted that the harsh treatment did not reflect the
generally amicable nature of situations where a licensee fails to attribute
correctly or otherwise inadvertently fails to comply with the license and
then corrects the problem as soon as he is notified. Still others noted
this was a potential incompatibility with other public licenses such as the
GPL v3.

To address these and other concerns, we have included a
this draft for licensees to get their rights under the license
reinstated automatically, but only under limited circumstances.
Specifically, licensees have 30 days after discovering a problem to correct
it and regain permission to use the licensed material. The 30-day window is
designed to give licensees a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem.
The window begins running after *discovery* of the problem because it is
designed to help innocent rather than willful violators. Note that the
provision expressly does not affect the right of licensors to seek remedies
for past violations. Instead, it merely creates a limited means for
licensees to automatically get permission to use the material once they are
in compliance with the license.

We hope this strikes the right balance of simplicity and flexibility
without unduly loosening the restrictions. We are anxious to hear reactions
from all of you.


Sarah Hinchliff Pearson, Senior Counsel
Creative Commons
444 Castro Street, Suite 900
Mountain View, California 94041
skype: sarah-h-pearson
email: sarah at creativecommons.org
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