Thursday, January 12, 2012

Other Creative Commons Rulings

In my last post I talked about rulings in the U.S. that upheld the copyright privileges of a rights holder when the terms of the creative commons license were violated.  I found two other cases (I cheated on these and went to the Creative Commons website) where international jurisdictions upheld the rights of a copyright when the license terms were violated.  The first case is from the District Court in Amsterdam from 2006 and is summarized at

The second case is from Spain (also from 2006) and is summarized at

In the document at this link,, the author was amused by the questions that she was getting about whether the Creative Commons license had been supported judicially. The author, Mia Garlick wirtes:

Many people have asked us over the years whether any court had held that CC licenses were enforceable. I have always found this question to be amusing. In my many years as a lawyer in private practice, if the licenses I had drafted were *not* litigated, then I was considered to have done my job well. But for some, it seems that keeping people out of court is not an indication of CC’s success; the legitimacy of the CC licensing system depended on some judicial validation.

While I am sure that this is humorous, it seems important to me that we can rely upon some of these judicial rulings supporting the license's protection of rights when explaining the benefits of sharing their copyrightable works while still protecting their rights.  I believe that there are large numbers of people creating content that would be beneficially shared who are not familiar with licensing to allow sharing who might be willing to share if they understood it.  The courts in most countries are the final arbiter of protecting the use of creative works as the creator intends.  I think the ability to point to ruling supporting the rights of the creator to insure that the manner and outcome of sharing can be monitored to comply with their wishes they might be more willing to "give up" some of the perceived rights that traditional copyright protection enjoys.

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