Creative Commons 4.0 on the horizon |

Creative Commons 4.0 on the horizon

Creative Commons 4.0 on the horizon
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Creative Commons held its Global Summit a few weeks ago in Warsaw, with amazing international participation. Without question, the most-discussed topic was the upcoming 4.0 release of the licenses, including related issues and a lively debate regarding whether the licenses should be ported to specific countries – or whether we should instead try to create a new international license.  

As a person interested in community building, I was amazed by the simplicity and efficiency of the Creative Commons community. Given the complexity (perhaps I should say "brokenness") of the global copyright system, there was a need to build a local community in almost every country world-wide, which consisted of totally different fields – legal and community builders.  People who would probably never meet each other worked in teams trying to port Creative Commons licenses to overcome both language as well as legal barriers. Now, Creative Commons can use the community they have built, which includes voices from many countries, to think about an international solution.

I've heard a lot of good legal as well as community arguments both for and against internationalization of the licenses during the conference, and my personal opinion is, if it is legally doable, we should try to build global licenses.  Even if they would only be valid in 90% of the world, that would be a much higher percentage than what we have today.  I know it will be a huge challenge, but from what I've seen in Warsaw, I'm sure that the community will make it possible.

But back to little problems of a little country. If you've read my previous article about open source being illegal in Slovak Republic you know that open licenses such as Creative Commons or GPL are not valid in Slovakia. This is the root cause of the Slovak Republic being one of the few places in the world where Creative Commons and its impressive legal, cultural, and public community is missing. We have joined the movement by forming a Creative Commons Slovakia affiliate organization, but the ball is in Ministry of Culture's hands right now to reform our copyright law.

Another interesting question I asked myself after the event is, "How can the free culture community work more with the open source community?" Most of us, even from the open source community, can agree that open source folks have a tendency to be closed towards other people. It's time for the entire “open” movement to start cooperating, to build a better and open civic infrastructure for all of us. So, let's do it.



Laurel L. Russwurm

Although Creative Commons is becoming more known, for most people it is still new and at best imperfectly understood.

[Not long ago I had to pull a photograph of a prominent politician that I used in a blog post because the person who licensed it did not approve of my article. Legally I could have kept it up, but I thought it better to simply inform the licensor and replace the image. My personal policy is simply to back off rather than turn people against cc licenses.]

Because copyright is so terribly broken ~ especially internationally ~ it is important to allow people to learn about it before narrowing the focus to either International or Global licenses. When I was first learning about copyright in my country, it was reassuring to know I could use a Canadian license. Most creators are not going to be well versed in copyright law to know whether an International or Global license would be valid in their jurisdiction. Having national licenses, particularly in the face of the current copyright situation, adds to the cc license user comfort level.

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