CCi legal day

A day before the official beginning of the iSummit, legal experts and other CC affiliates gathered at the “CCi legal day” and discussed a number of legal issues regarding the license texts. Read on for a brief summary of the discussion.

morning session

The first announcement of the day was that CC-licenses have now been adopted in 47 jurisdictions, with Singapore being the most recent adopter. With such diverse jurisdictions using CC-licenses, compatibility issues were an obvious topic throughout the legal day.

A short update on recent technological developments was followed by the presentation of the first main speaker, Prof. Dr. Yoshiyuki TAMURA from the Hokkaido University. Prof. Dr. TAMURA presented the different philosophical foundations of copyright and also gave a short historical overview over the development of copyright law. He argued that at least based on the philosophical concepts behind the copyright, the current development in Japan to prolong the copyright protection to 70 years after the death of the author is not desireable. Prof. Dr. TAMURA also introduced some peculiarities of Japanese copyright act, one of which is the absence of a general fair use clause. However, discussions about adding a fair use clause are underway.
He also made the compelling argument that rules (written legislation) as opposed to standards (judicial judgements) are much more in danger of being influenced by lobbyist groups, usual that of the powerful copyright holders. Thus, placing a bigger emphasis on standards in the area of copyright could alleviate the underrepresentation of the less powerful interest groups, for example the consumers of copyrighted content.

After this insightful presentation, Prof. Susy FRANKEL from the Victoria University in New Zealand raised the important question of what stance CC-licenses should take on the author’s moral rights. Since not all jurisdictions have moral rights – like the right to attribution or the right to forbid derogatory alterations of a work – it is difficult to find an understandable wording for the unported license. Also, different jurisdictions allow for different degrees and ways of waiving those rights. Still there was a consensus that moral rights should not me entirely left out of the license texts, which lead to a further discussion on the benefits and pitfalls of writing the license texts in plain English as opposed to “legal lanuage”.

Dr. Lucie GUIBAULT from the Amsterdam University then presented the outcome of her research on incompatibility problems from a European perspective, which raised the question of how to motivate each jurisdiction to update their license texts to the newest version – a problem for which a solution has yet to be found.

Dr. Profromos TSIAVOS concluded the morning session with his observations on the dynamics of CC as an organization and an analysis of the future challenges for the growing CC community.

afternoon session

The afternoon session started with a follow-up on the issues presented in the morning session and was then follow by an update on the CC adoption metrics by Mike LINKSVAYER and Dr. Giorgos CHELIOTIS.

Jessica COATES then presented an issue that CC Australia had extensively researched on: The onlicensing of derivatives. The question was, what CC or other licences can one apply to a derivative work when the original work was, for example, licensed CC-by-nc. As an answer it can be said that any derivative work’s license inherits the elements of the original’s license, and may add further restrictions. However, a less restrictive license than the original’s license is not allowed.

Tomoaki WATANABE from CC Japan then presented an emerging problem regarding the digital broadcasting network of Japan, which will be completed in 2011. Since CC licenses do not allow for DRM-protection of any CC-licensed work, it will be impossible to broadcast any CC-licensed content over the new digital broadcasting system – as it will be entirely protected by DRM. Possible solutions were discussed.

Paul KELLER and Mikael SIMPSON presented a case study from Denmark, where the collecting society KODA has cooperated with CC Denmark in a joint effort to enable artists who are members of KODA to publish works under a CC license. Artists can now sign a special agreement with KODA, which allows them to use any non-commercial CC-license for their works as long as they adhere to a certain definition of commercial use, which is part of the agreement. The CC licenses are not altered for this purpose and stay exactly the same.

Picking up the “commercial use”-topic, Diane PETERS, presented the preliminary findings and future roadmap of her research group. The project aims to gain insight on the various understandings of the term “commercial use” in different jurisdictions and will strive to come up with a comprehensive and maybe even unified definition of the term. Mrs. PETERS also gave an update on the CC0 project, which aims to offer an alternative to the US-centric public domain dedication.