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This article is written by Rebecca Dias, pursuing a Diploma in Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Laws, from LawSikho.

Introduction 

Through the difficult periods of war, natural calamities, economic turmoil’s etc. humans have survived with a renewed sense to become better. This is in terms of infrastructure, social services, good governance, access to educations among others. The growth and development of our civilization meant rise in intellectual property and its use. Whenever we come across the term license we think of exclusivity of use. A license in general understanding qualifies us to perform a particular act to use a product whatever form in may be. The term license first appears in the Copyright Act, 1957 as “exclusive licence” which further reinforces this general association. But as technology develops information and its uses have become quite dynamic. Copyright over a particular work ensures protection for its beneficial use only to one or some qualified persons. In this article we shall be looking at what is CCO, us of CCO and the process of getting the liscence. 

What is CC0

Creative Commons (“CC”) is a non-profit organisation based in the United States of America based with a global network founded on January 15, 2001. Under CC there are various types of copyright licenses. These licenses are based on copyright law and lasts as long as the law permits. Essentially it is among the group of “public copyright licenses” which facility and permit free distribution of works covered under copyright. This license allows the author to give others the permission to use, share and further develop works based on the work under this license. There are various licenses provided by CC for use based on the purpose and requirements of the author. They are as follows: 

  • CC BY: Users of this license can rearrange or develop material from the work in any method or mediums but the credit of the such original work with contributed to final work of the user. Commercial use is permitted under this license.
  • CC BY-SA: Users of this license can rearrange or develop material from the work in any method or mediums but the credit of the such original work with contributed to final work of the user. Commercial use is permitted under this license. Further, such final work (known as adaptations) should be licensed under the same terms as the original work. Hence, the original creator does not loose credit from such inspiration. An example of its use in India is the National Repository of Open Educational Resources project which permitted use, adaptation etc. of works from the National Council of Educational Research and Training.
  • CCBY-NC: Users of this license can rearrange or develop material from the work in any method or mediums but the credit of the such original work with contributed to final work of the user. Only non-commercial use is permitted under this license.
  • CC-BY-NC-SA: Users of this license can rearrange or develop material from the work in any method or mediums but the credit of the such original work with contributed to final work of the user. Only non-commercial use is permitted under this license. Further, such final work (known as adaptations) should be licensed under the same terms as the original work. Hence, the original creator does not loose credit from such inspiration. 
  • CC BY-ND: Compared to the above this license only permits the user to copy and distribute the work under the license. The user cannot rearrange, remix, adapt or change the work i.e. it has to be “unadapted”. Due credit must be given to the creator of such work. This license permits commercial use. 
  • CC BY-NC-ND: Compared to the above this license only permits the user to copy and distribute the work under the license. The user cannot rearrange, remix, adapt or change the work i.e. it has to be “unadapted”. Due credit must be given to the creator of such work. This license does not permit commercial use.

Apart for the above there also exists a license under CC that permits the author to relinquish the copyright over their work and place it in the public domain. It allows the licensee to use, remix, adapt, recreate etc. the work of the author in any method or mediums with no stipulations as the abovementioned licenses. This is known as CC0 (Creative Commons Zero).

This license only operates within the ambit of the Copyright law of the country. The CC0 provides a route to those authors who intend to let go the rights under copyright law. Therefore, once CC0 is applied to a work the losses the sense of ownership to that work as envisioned under copyright law. Thus, any licensee can use it without any conditions. Essentially, this mark signals to the readers/ users that no copyright is claimed on that particular work throughout the world. CC0 does not impact the rights of third parties in the work. Further, CC0 operates within the ambit of the copyright law of a particular jurisdiction. As a result, if certain rights of the author cannot be waived for example moral rights. The CC0 just legally severs all the rights of the author in the work as permitted within law. 

Use

The author/licensor waives all the rights to the work and other neighboring and related rights, if any in the work as permitted by law (in India, the Copyright Act, 1957 shall be considered as the law). Therefore, a non-exclusive, unconditional and irrevocable free use is granted to the work irrespective of the use being commercial or non-commercial. The author has to own or hold the copyright and such other associated rights in the work. This type of license cannot be revoked once applied. Even though the author relinquished the rights in the work but the author is still responsible to credit any third party, if such credit lies in such work. Thus, the author has to comply with all the requirements under copyright law before the CC0 is applied. CC does not publish the work under the license nor is liable for it. CC0 can also be applied to computer software. Once CC0 is applied to the work the author negligible amount of control in its use.

CC0 does not waive the trademark and patent rights in a work the author has. Therefore, the permission of the author is required before its use. CC0 only operates within the domain of copyright. 

CC0 renounces any legal claim relating to representation or warranties of any kind in the work covered under it.

Process

To begin with the process, one must log on to the “CC0 Waiver” on https://creativecommons.org/choose/zero/ and fill in the appropriate information such as the name of the author, jurisdiction etc.

It is imperative for the author to read the legal code accompanying the “CC0 Waiver”.

Once the required information is submitted, one has to click on the waiver clause and read all clause. To proceed one should click on the highlighted “Continue” tab at the end of the page.

Further, the author has to confirm the waiver of the rights to the work by clicking on the “Yes, I waive” tab. After this process is complete you will be redirected to the display page which will show you the preview to the symbols accompanying the work to inform the reuser, reader etc. that the work is covered under CC0. If the jurisdiction of the author is provided with the work, the reuser can tailor its use accordingly within the ambit of the applicable law. But it is advised that such author should be contacted and appropriate legal advice be taken to ensure that the reuser is aware of all their rights. 

Conclusion 

The author is given the freedom to use any license under CC that they want. Based on the requirements and intentions of the author, CC provides for various other licenses for the works as mentioned above. Earlier we faced a period of information scarcity with knowledge leading to concentration of economic, social, political and cultural power. CC0 is an example of the efforts to democratise works. But it is not the only license under CC. Compared to other licenses under CC, CC0 does not have any conditions for the use of works under it for example, its use for only commercial or only non-commercial. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art made its images available to the pubic under CC0. Therefore, it provides data on 420,000 museum objects covering over 5,000 years.  This action facilitates wonder and curiosity in the minds of millions who are able to access these images around the world. According to the Met website, all their digital images and data are divided into two categories. One, those that are available in the public domain with no copyright attached to them. The rest are copyrighted or under some other restriction. Further, on February 7, 2017 they implemented a new policy known as Open Access, which granted images of artworks in the Met (that it according to it has no cost attached to it and in the public domain) available for unrestricted and free use by CC0, and other terms and conditions of Met. Therefore, CC aims to bring balance between the credit and economic benefits due to an author from their work, and the dissemination of information around the world.

References


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