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United States


Creative Commons is working with The Berkman Center to create United States jurisdiction-specific licenses from the generic Creative Commons licenses.

CCi United States List

Project Lead: John Palfrey, Phillip Malone

There are currently no email discussion lists for the US project. The creation of United States jurisdiction-specific Creative Commons licenses is a far simpler project than “porting” or adapting the CC generic licenses to many other countries. This is because the generic licenses, while jurisdiction-agnostic, are based in many respects on the U.S. Copyright Act and other U.S. laws, are already written in American English and were originally drafted by American lawyers.

As a result, only one relatively minor, technical change was made to the generic licenses in order to make them jurisdiction specific to the United States. Paragraph 5 of the licenses, “Representations, Warranties and Disclaimer,” was revised to make clear that the Licensor offers the work only to the extent of any rights that the Licensor holds in it, and to add “marketable title” to the list of implied warranties that the Licensor is disclaiming. Because of some uncertainty in American case law regarding the extent to which various implied warranties actually would attach to Creative Commons licenses, and to which any such warranties can be disclaimed, these changes are meant to provide Licensors with the maximum possible protection from any possible liability in this area.

Since the only current difference between the generic CC licenses and the new, United States jurisdiction-specific ones is this minor, technical improvement, we determined that the typical process porting setting up an email discussion list for public comment and debate on the initial license draft, followed by preparation of a second draft based on comments those would not be useful or necessary in this case.

Berkman Center

The Berkman Center

The Berkman Center is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. We represent a network of faculty, students, fellows, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and virtual architects working to identify and engage with the challenges and opportunities of cyberspace.

We investigate the real and possible boundaries in cyberspace between open and closed systems of code, of commerce, of governance, and of education, and the relationship of law to each. We do this through active rather than passive research, believing that the best way to understand cyberspace is to actually build out into it.

Our faculty, fellows, students, and affiliates engage with a wide spectrum of Net issues, including governance, privacy, intellectual property, antitrust, content control and electronic commerce. Our diverse research interests cohere in a common understanding of the Internet as a social and political space where constraints upon inhabitants are determined not only through the traditional application of law, but, more subtly, through technical architecture (“code”).

The Berkman Center’s Clinical Program in Cyberlaw provides high-quality, pro-bono legal services to appropriate individuals, small start-ups, non-profit groups and government entities regarding cutting-edge issues of the Internet, new technology and intellectual property.

Posted 20 August 2009