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CC Zero beta tools now available

- January 16, 2008 in Legal

Creative Commons has released the beta version of CCZero (or CC ∅). CCZero implements the Science Commons Protocol for implementing Open Access Data by waiving related intellectual property rights, including copyright and unfair competition. Open Data Commons also implements this protocol in the Public Domain Dedication and Licence with the accompanying Community Norms statement.

The homepage for the licensing tool is at:

There are actually two underlying CCZero legal tools: one waives copyright and related rights and the other asserts that the work has no copyright in the United States.

CC ∅ Waiver 1.0 United States

Human readable summary available here.
Underlying legal code available here.

This legal code is for authors and rightsholder to waive copyright and related rights to the covered work and thus place it into the public domain. It is geared towards the law of the United States and does not mention, for example, database rightsUPDATE see below. It has a back-up license (like the Public Domain Dedication and Licence) in case a court finds the wiaver invalid.

CC ∅ assertion 1.0 United States

Human readable summary available here.
Underlying legal code available here.

The assertion is for third parties (not authors or rightsholders) to say that they’ve looked into the copyright status of the work and believe it to be in the public domain — in other words out of copyright. The text limits the assertion to US law and includes a clause recognizing that the asserter may be liable for making this assertion.

Initial thoughts

I’ll be posting more about CCZero and its relationship to the Open Data Commons but initially I’d like to point out that:

  • CCZero is based on US law and doesn’t include a specific waiver of database rights, though further internationalisation will presumably result in versions that do waive database rights;
  • UPDATE — Apologies I initially missed it, but there is language waiving database rights thought they aren’t mentioned by name. The waiver states ” including but not limited to … and any rights protecting the extraction, dissemination and reuse of data ,..”
  • The assertion only covers copyright law and not other areas of law, including those covered by the waiver (privacy, moral rights, unfair competition, and so on), though this makes sense in the context of these other rights; and
  • The CCZero assertion only covers copyright law in the United States.

Both the Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and Licence and the CCZero texts are drafts, and so your comments would be most welcome.

Unfair competition and the Science Commons protocol

- December 18, 2007 in Legal, PDDL

The issue of unfair competition has already come up on one of the discuss lists. The new Science Commons Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data mentions this area of law.

4.1 Converge on the public domain by waiving all rights based on intellectual property


Thus, to facilitate data integration and open access data sharing, any implementation of this protocol MUST waive all rights necessary for data extraction and re-use (including copyright, sui generis database rights, claims of unfair competition, implied contracts, and other legal rights), and MUST NOT apply any obligations on the user of the data or database such as “copyleft” or “share alike”, or even the legal requirement to provide attribution. Any implementation SHOULD define a non-legally binding set of citation norms in clear, lay-readable language.

The Public Domain Dedication & Licence doesn’t mention unfair competition, and so the question has come up whether it is compliant. I’ve gone ahead and started this part of the Legal FAQ to address this issue and solicit your feedback. The response is after the jump.

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