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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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Chronological Thread  
  • From: Peter Brink <peter.brink AT>
  • To: drew Roberts <zotz AT>
  • Cc: Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts <cc-licenses AT>
  • Subject: [cc-licenses] From: cc-community - What does NC means?
  • Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 12:03:12 +0200

This part of the thread "What does NC means?" has become quite OT for the community list, it's somewhat more on topic for the license list, which is why I moved it here. I've edited the post a bit and only bothered to include parts that might be of some general interest.

drew Roberts skrev:
On Monday 17 September 2007 11:39 am, Peter Brink wrote:
[large snip]>
An adaptation, on the other hand, is an example of an _dependent_ copyright. Do note that in Europe, as opposed to the US, the
creator of an adaptation is the sole copyright holder of the rights to
the adaptation. He do need permission from the copyright holder of the
work that has been adapted when he wants to publish his adaptation.

So the European BY-SA licenses grant this permission on the condition that the new work is BY-SA?

Yes, but (sadly) in many cases it's not mentioned that one does not need any permission to create an adaptation only to publish it.

How do they get an independant work to be BY-SA? Refuse permission to even copy unless the related work is BY-SA? Or does the license just choose not to address this?

Independent works are not included in the scope of the license (as they are the property of their creator and no one else).

An arrangement can be said to express the same ideas that are expressed
in the score but with different means.

Would different notation be enough to be different means?

Sorry - bad choice of words on my behalf.

What I meant was that a music score expresses an idea with one set of tools (notation generally), while an arrangement uses other tools. An arrangement is more of an expression of _how_ to express something than an direct expression _of_ something.

A different notation (I take it that you mean that you would use a different notation system to express the same sounds) would not do. Such a would in most cases just be a copy.

To put it differently. Assume that A is translating a scene from a novel written in Japanese by X to English. The scene is set in the living room of a small flat in a large Japanese city. The characters are a small girl and her beloved puppy. The girl's name is "Miko" and the puppy is called "Li". Anyone is obviously free to express these ideas. Such expressions are free and independent works. But if A is including every single detail found in the Japanese text and faithfully translates the descriptions in Japanese to English, trying the express the very same ideas using the very same methods but expressed in English instead of Japanese, then A's text would be an adaptation of X's text. X cannot deny A the right to do the translation but A needs X's permission in order to publish the text.

If the two texts would be read out loud only those who understands both English and Japanese would realise that texts where the same. To someone who neither understands English nor Japanese there would be no way of knowing that the two texts where the same, in fact to such persons the texts would appear to be two different works because the sounds the texts produce when being read out loud would be completely different.

Now let us return to the case with two different notations expressing the same music score. If one would let two musicians play the piece of music, one using the original set of notes and the other using the "translated" set, everyone would hear that it's the same piece of music that is being played. Because of this an transformation of a score of music from one notation to another is not an adaptation it's a copy.

An adaptation "contains" another work (it incorporates recognisable
elements of the original work) but is also clearly a work in it's own right. When there is no difference at all between two works, one of them has to be presumed to be a copy of the other.


The performing artist gets a independent performance neighbouring right
(which is not a work) if the set of works are publicly performed.
Performed? zEven if it is not fixed? And in the US, doesn't this work get
a (P) when fixed?
Fixation is not an requirement under the Berne convention...

So, in Europe, every water cooler conversation that is original is copyrighted?

The concept of "originality" is another of these concepts we use in copyright law that differs across the globe. For something to be copyright protected that something must be an expression that is the result of a human beings individual personal creation. The question then is - when is something an individual personal creation? Obviously the style used; the time or money invested; or the data, ideas or thought used when creating the expression falls outside the copyright. They are either not an expression or are not created. To answer the question of when an expression is considered an individual personal creation you have to turn to the lawmakers comments and to case law. The lawmaker has stated that an expression must reach a certain (unspecified) level of originality - or to put it differently: it must not be trivial.
Here in Sweden our Supreme court has created an help-rule, it goes like this: an expression is not copyrightable if the probability of someone independently double-creating the expression is not improbable. That is - if the probability of independent double-creation is large then the expression is not original enough. Similar methods are used (I'm sure) in other parts of Europe.

So - no not every water cooler conversation is copyrighted in Europe, because such conversations are not original.


There is no requirement of
originality. This is thus _not_ a copyright (since a copyrightable work
needs to be original). The duration of the right is 50 years counting
from the publication date. The producer needs to secure a permission to
make the recording from the copyright holder of the work being recorded.

How do they figure there is no originality in making a recording?

A recording only record something. It's like an non-artistic photograph. The camera just records something without any creative input from the human being who presses the trigger.

/Peter Brink

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