[Foundation-l] Public Domain Mark - what does this mean for us?

Mike Linksvayer ml at creativecommons.org
Wed Oct 13 22:23:12 UTC 2010

On Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM, Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt at gmail.com> wrote:

> I for one am very keen to see us use this system, if for no other reason
> than it leverages the existing visibility of the Creative Commons
> machine-readable licensing structure. The CC-Public Domain Mark is not
> actually doing anything new/different to the concept of the public domain
> and doesn't pretend to force PD from one jurisdiction to another. In fact,
> AFAICT, it is the first time Creative Commons have a "product" that isn't a
> copyright license.

One could argue about CC's old "Public Domain Dedication & Certification"
and current CC0, but the Public Domain Mark is indeed the first CC "product"
that is 100% separated from the use case for a copyright license.

> Public Domain, by definition, is an absence of copyright
> which is why they're calling it the PD Mark and not a license. As such,
> this
> is not an attempt to rebrand the public domain but an attempt to make overt
> expressions of it consistent, recognisable and machine-readable.

Right, it's just a label. We (I work for CC) attempted to avoid rebranding
the public domain by removing any "CC" from the buttons we suggest using
with the mark -- http://i.creativecommons.org/p/mark/1.0/88x31.png and
http://i.creativecommons.org/p/mark/1.0/80x15.png -- and moving the
prominent CC branding one finds atop a CC license deed -- eg
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ -- to a "powered by cc" in
the footer of http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/

Incidentally, the name CC0 came about in part because we were sensitive to
the inappropriateness of branding the public domain -- CC0 is a specific
tool for putting works into the public domain -- as in no restrictions -- as
possible, but not the narrowly defined public domain of works that are not
or cannot fall under copyright restrictions. We've gotten various feedback
in both directions since -- that it was the right decision, or that we
shouldn't have made up yet another name -- so we've shifted a bit, and
though the tool is called CC0 still, we've also removed "CC" and added
"public domain" to buttons suggested for CC0k --
http://i.creativecommons.org/p/zero/1.0/88x31.png and
http://i.creativecommons.org/p/zero/1.0/80x15.png -- (subtle difference is
PDM button features a slash-C, CC0 a 0 -- most users will only care they
have lots of freedom associated with the public domain, but there's a signal
for anyone who knows enough to care) and given the CC0 deed the same
treatment as the PDM deed --

Fortunately there is no problem with interoperability among well crafted
public domain tools (at least not legally, which is by far highest obstacle)
so for anyone who thinks we haven't gotten the branding, naming, or lack
thereof, quite right, it isn't a big loss to continue using another public
domain label or dedication, as the case warrants.

I'm planning a CC blog post which reviews some of these decisions and
tradeoffs, but for now easier to respond here. Feedback welcome.

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