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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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  • From: "Prodromos Tsiavos" <p.tsiavos AT>
  • To: "Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts" <cc-licenses AT>
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] Lawsuit over Virgin Mobile's and Ethical Use
  • Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 10:12:51 +0200


This is an interesting discussion since the suggestion for the introduction of an "ethical clause" in the CC licences dates back from 2003. Though desirable, such clause raises a series of problems as many of the discussants have already indicated. I m summing up some of them:

- you cannot just add such a clause or make changes to the CC licensing terms by yourself. You cannot not in the sense that it would be illegal, but in the sense that it would place your "customized" licence outside the CC system, i.e. it would render it impossible to interact with the SA licences.
- most legal problems CC licences have relate to the interpretation of terms such as "non-commercial" which are not used by national Copyright Laws. The introduction of yet another difficult to clearly define term is not going to solve any problems. The Virgin case indicates precisely that.
- Some of the functions that an "ethical clause" would serve are already covered by Moral Rights [contained in v.3.0 of the licences] or other national laws that are of obligatory nature and hence there is no point mentioning them in an already complicated licence.
- There are other related to the "ethical lause" issues that have been already covered on this list this year and have to do with publicity rights, release forms etc and indicate that before suggesting yet another clause, it is always useful to see if there are other means available to achieve the same objectives.

To return to the Virgin case, in my opinion, there are two things it shows:
- we still have to work hard on educating CC licence users and clarifying ourselves some of the terms used
- what the Virgin case indicates is not a CC problem but a broader Copyright problem: with the proliferation of creators and disseminators, what in the past would have been a specialized issue involving a small no of specialists, it is now part of daily routines involving everyone.

I m expecting to see far more related cases in the future, with or without CC.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Karl Ebener" <myonlyb AT>
To: "Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts" <cc-licenses AT>
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:26 AM
Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] Lawsuit over Virgin Mobile's and Ethical Use


I would like to support Drew as for a German Law-point-of-view:
Following German law, the CC are general terms and conditions and
therefore must be very specific so that the user can easily understand
what is allowed and what is not. NC is complicated enough, but I think
that most judges will be confident that they can interpret this
theirselves since commercial is a term used in other areas of law as well.
But the term "ethical" is subject to too much change and interpretation
and would most certainly render the clause void...


drew Roberts schrieb:
On Friday 28 September 2007 11:47 pm, paola.dimaio AT wrote:


Can you give a complete definition with what "ethical" means?

Well, we are still discussing what 'commercial' means, right?
Even commercial is not that straightforward

We have non commercial use, not better specified
Then we can also have 'ethical' use, and work it out later

Please no. It will make all the CC licenses basically unuseable. And certainly
not for any works that do not contain visual representations of peoples
likenesses. And also especially not for BY amd BY-SA licenses. I personally
would not object as strongly to such use in anyhting with NC or ND even
though I think it ill advised there as well.

There is a point in a free society where we need to do good by our fellow man
and leave them to be responsible for their abuses.

Even the Free Software folks, who many might inagine would want anti military
bits in, left them out to keep the code Free.

Now, if you or someone else can come up will clean language that somehow will
make this work without all the confusion...

It's not so difficult. It's a simple condition that allows to use CC
licensed work only
if it is not used for (see annex). In the annex you can put what you want

This would kill any SA sharing and re-use.

The work covered under this licenses, and any parts thereof, cannot be
used in conjunction with any of the following usages

- illegal activities (any country)

And this would stop someone why? Is a person willing to abuse a child gonn
have second thoughts about abusing your copyright?

- activities against human rights charter
- activities that exploit and abuse people especially children

See above.

- to sell unhealthy product and products that harm the environment

Now, this may be possible. A clause to the effect, that commercial does not
cover "endorsement" uses perhaps? Especially with respect to peoples images


Any usage that is not in the black list, would not require permission
Any usage that is in the black list, is prohibited

If it is a standard back list... But if each person gets to put in their own
back list... Kiss SA goodbye...

simple as that

Unless you are using the word "ethical" is way that I'm unfamiliar
with... "ethics" are rules that a person voluntarily chooses to
follow. And which rules do and don't make up their "ethical code" is
up to them.

I chose not to drink coke, and to to eat McDonalds hamburgers, and not
to promote
pornography and belligerant and slanderous websites, and not to do
phisihing scams nor hack other people property and generally be
respectful and kind

All well and good.

and I am also responsible for the work that I produce not be used
against my principles

Keep it to yourself then. In a Free society, you are not responsible for this.
Those who do the dirty works are responsible.

(In other words... for each person... what is and isn't ethical is

sure - but we all agree in principle on certain points, right?

If only...

Now... the problem with putting an "ethical" clause into a license is
that if you do NOT completely define and explicitly list what the
rules that make up your "ethical code", then things are completely
ambiguous. And a person won't know what they can and can't do.

agreed. Let me start working on a an ANNEX




Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc. <>

Vlog Razor... Vlogging News

all the best,

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