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Creative Commons Licenses Legal Pitfalls: Incompatibilities and Solutions

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay


Creative Commons licenses have been designed to facilitate the use and reuse of creative works by granting some permissions in advance. However, the system is complex, with a multiplicity of licenses options, formats and versions available, including translations into different languages and adaptation to specific legislations towards versions that are declared compatible with each other after an international porting process. It should be assessed whether all licenses cover exactly the same subject matter, rights, and restrictions or whether small language differences may have an impact on the rights actually granted, ensuring legal security of current users or availability of works for future generations to access and build upon. As different licenses have different phrasing, differences may change the content of the grant and its substantial conditions, thereby affecting users' expectations and threatening the validity of the consent along the modification chain. Possible sources of legal uncertainty and incompatibility - as well as their actual or potential consequences on the validity and enforceability of the licenses across jurisdictions with different and possibly inconsistent legislations - need to be evaluated. This study presents the different licenses (chapter 2), identifies various possible sources of legal incompatibility (chapter 3), evaluates their actual impact (chapter 4) and finally proposes recommendations (chapter 5) to mitigate risks and improve compatibility, consistency, clarity, and legal security by restructuring and simplifying the system.
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halshs-00671622 , version 1 (17-02-2012)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00671622 , version 1


Melanie Dulong de Rosnay. Creative Commons Licenses Legal Pitfalls: Incompatibilities and Solutions. 2009. ⟨halshs-00671622⟩


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