Translation and localization of Creative Commons licenses

68
Views

Melanie dulong de rosnay is a researcher at the iscc,the Institute for Communication Sciences of the cnrs and Creative Commons France legal lead at CERSA CNRS Vojwfstjuz Qbsjt 3/ Tif dp.gpvoefe dpnnvojb joufsobujpobm association on the digital public domain. After receiving a Phd in law, she was a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society of Harvard Law School and at the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam.

 

Wjui uif fyufotjpo of copyright law duration and the expansion of its scope, possibilities to access and reuse works are being reduced, while digital technologies can (and should) be used tofacilitate their usage, instead of locking them even more. Copyright law grants automatically to authors an exclusive right to control the copying, distribution and modification of their works, leaving few rights available to the public without authorisation, such as parody, private or educational use.

However, creators can choose to let others copy and reuse their works for free. By deciding to be more generous, they will get more exposure, maybe even foster citizen participation, creative remix or translation by volunteers. Creative Commons (cc), a non profit organization, is offering a set of open content licenses to the public, in order to remove barriers to access and creativity by facilitating sharing of works1[1]lang is itself distributed under a CC-by-sa license to facilitate translation and publica- tion in every country and language.

When distribut- ing their work under a cc license, authors authorise the public to copy their work given that some conditions are respected, such as providing appropriate credit, reserving commercial rights or requiring modified versions to be made available under the same freedoms.

cc licenses are applicable to works which are covered by copyright law : text, blog posts, articles, books, images, websites, audiovisual creations, photographs, music, etc. They are used by individual artists and institutions such as Wikipedia, Al Jazeera for footage, mit for educational material or Hindawi Open Access for scientific journals. Other tools are available for data or public domain works which are not covered by copyright : the White House, the Dutch and the Piedmont governments use a cc0 (0 for zero) instrument in order to indicate they waive their rights on public data to facilitate citizen access to information and innovation based on public sector data reuse.

cc licenses are made available to the public though an online user in- terface 2[2]http://creativecommons.org/chooseasking authors to specify which rights they wish to grant to the public and to choose optional elements. Licensers may (or may not) request their work be used for non-commercial purposes only or in a non-derivative way only, or request the derivatives (such as translations) be licensed under the same conditions. Based on the answers to these questions, the user will be delivered one of six licenses to be displayed on their website or on the physical copy of their works in order to indicate to the public which freedoms are granted in advance and which rights are still reserved.

The six licenses are the following :

Licenses are made available in various formats when clicking from one to the other :

  • A button with the cc logo, containing a link to the license’s human-readable summary.
  • Embedded machinereadable code containing metadata to be processed by search engines.
  • A human-readable summary of the license’s core freedoms and op- tional restrictions : http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0
  • The legal code, e.g. the full license : http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode

Originally, the legal code was drafted according to us copyright law, as the organization is based in this jurisdiction. It has later been drafted in reference to international conventions. Licenses are being translated in over fifty languages and seventy countries. This process called international porting goes beyond a mere translation. For instance, the definitions are expected to be extracted from copyright legislations in each jurisdiction.

The purpose of having local licenses is to provide a linguistic and legal translation, as well as to increase access, acceptability and understanding by users and judges who need to interpret the licenses in their jurisdiction. The internationalisation process also provides local teams of affiliates who are expert in copyright and open content licensing. Beyond ensur- ing the translation and porting of the legal code, jurisdictions project leads work with local user communities and governments to explain the licenses and facilitate their adoption 3[3]Hala Essalmawi, Partage de la création et de la culture : les licences Creative Commons dans le monde arabe, In : Libres Savoirs, les biens communs de la connaissance, C&F éditions 2012, … Continue reading

. Jurisdiction teams also collaborate with cc headquarters staff to perform research, provide suggestions to improve the licensing system, report on users’ questions, use cases and issues arising in their jurisdiction. They translate and create educational material and constitute a network advising on questions affecting user communities around the world.

However, the legal porting process comes with a caveat due to the lack of harmonisation among copyright legislations. As copyright law varies among countries, licenses do not exactly cover the same scope of rights. As cc licenses are declared compatible among themselves 4[4]Works licensed under a Share Alike license can be remixed with works licensed under a Share Alike license from another jurisdiction, and the resulting derivative work may be relicensed under the … Continue reading, an author is expected to consent that future adaptations of her work be licensed under unidentified terms, which can be a problem in contract law. The legal porting process has been a useful constitutional event for the development of an international network, and ported versions facilitate understanding and adaptation in diverse legal cultures and systems. But it is a time consuming task in a complex international law environment. In any case, linguistic translations improve access, acceptability and understanding by non-native English speakers. The license’s human-readable translations, summarising the legal text in a few sentences written in plain, non-legalese language, are making it clear to all creators that works can be reused.

Translation is not only a matter of local language, it is also a question of making concepts accessible to non-specialised audiences, and Creative Commons licenses are providing a means of accessibility to legal knowl- edge, towards access to knowledge and creativity in general.

Taken from text of: Mélanie Dulong De Rosnay

References

References
1lang is itself distributed under a CC-by-sa license to facilitate translation and publica- tion in every country and language.
2http://creativecommons.org/choose
3Hala Essalmawi, Partage de la création et de la culture : les licences Creative Commons dans le monde arabe, In : Libres Savoirs, les biens communs de la connaissance, C&F éditions 2012, 145-155.
4Works licensed under a Share Alike license can be remixed with works licensed under a Share Alike license from another jurisdiction, and the resulting derivative work may be relicensed under the Share Alike license of another jurisdiction, all versions having slightly different conditions.

Leave a Reply