[Clipart] Here's a MAJOR Problem With CC0

Greg Bulmash oneminuteinspirations at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 09:52:22 PDT 2009

I hadn't re-read the PD dedication in a while, so I decided to look that 
over.  While CC0 is much more simply worded, CC-PD has a VERY important 
element in it that CC0 1.0 lacks: the distinction between a dedicator 
and a certifier.

A certifier says that not only do they give up any rights they may have 
in the work, but the certifier: "has taken reasonable steps to verify 
the copyright status of this work. Certifier recognizes that his good 
faith efforts may not shield him from liability if in fact the work 
certified is not in the public domain."

This language is totally missing from CC0.  The submitter provides no 
such assurance and merely gives up their own rights in the work.

I think the CCO license's lack of certification regarding adapted works 
(such as all the works Johnny Automatic has scanned from old books) and 
sole concentration on the surrendering of rights makes it absolutely 
useless for OCAL.

Lord knows if the certifier language provides any protection in court to 
OCAL users who make public and/or commercial use of certified images 
that someone ends up claiming are copyrighted.  And if things keep going 
the way they've been going with the guy threatening to sue me (and other 
clip art site owners), that clause may end up getting some judicial review.

But my legal problems aren't at issue.  What is at issue is if that 
language provides *any* amount of protection for the end user against 
claims of infringement, then stripping it out also strips out the 
protection and makes every image in the OCAL that isn't a 100% original 
work, pretty much worthless.

- Greg

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