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Greetings Open Colleagues:


As many of you know, Creative Commons (CC) is in the process of creating a new version of its licenses - version 4.0. We have published a first draft as a starting point (available at, and we are in the process of getting feedback to create and publish a second draft in June / July. The full versioning process will probably take until the end of 2012. For more information about the 4.0 schedule, as well as extensive information about the various issues being addressed and debated, please visit our 4.0 wiki ( If you have not already, please also join the license discuss email list where many of the issues are being debated (


We are hoping to receive as much input as possible from the OER community, and while you are all are most welcome to participate in any part of the 4.0 discussion, CC would like your feedback on the following questions about attribution in CC licenses.


Please send your feedback to me ( and Sarah Pearson (


In draft 1 of v.4, we tried to simplify the attribution and marking requirements by putting them all into one section of the license in list form. This is designed to make it easier for licensees to understand and comply with their obligations.

Specifically, when sharing the work, licensees must provide the following information when it is supplied by licensor:

  • Name of the author
  • Name of parties designed by licensor for attribution
  • Title of the work
  • Copyright notice
  • URI associated with the work
  • URI associated with the CC license
  • Notices, disclaimers, warranties referring to the CC license

(1) Is there any other information we should require licensees to provide when fulfilling the attribution and marking requirements under CC licenses? Alternatively, is there anything in this list that is unnecessary for licensees to provide even when it is supplied by the licensor? Our goal is to make the requirements extensive enough to satisfy licensors’ desire to be attributed and recognized for their work without making the obligations impractical. 

(2) All of these requirements may be fulfilled in any reasonable manner based on the medium the licensee is using to share the licensed work. This flexibility is intended to help ease compliance with the license conditions. Does the current language grant licensees too much flexibility? Not enough? Is there anything else we should change to make it easier on licensees that are remixing content from multiple sources – the so-called “attribution stacking” problem?

(3) If the URI associated with the work refers to a resource that specifies the name of the author (or attribution parties, if applicable) and title of the work, licensees may include only the URI rather than specifying that information separately. This is another attempt to make compliance with the license conditions easier and more flexible without compromising the needs and expectations of licensors. Is this shortcut appropriate and/or helpful? If the URI points to a resource that includes the other required information (e.g., the copyright notice), would it be preferable to allow the URI shortcut to satisfy those other requirements as well?

(4) Some licensors have more detailed expectations for attribution of their work. Should we make allowances for licensors who want to include specific attribution requirements (e.g., a particular attribution statement), or would this unnecessarily complicate license compliance? Note that any particular requirements would need to be subject to the reasonableness standard to be consistent with the explicit terms of the license.

(5) Another possibility is to change the language to a more general requirement to acknowledge the author and cite the original work. We could then include the current list of attribution and marking requirements as an example of best practices rather than as a specific legal requirement. This would potentially give licensees more freedom to adapt attribution to their particular circumstances, while maintaining the spirit and purpose of the requirements. Is this a proposal we should pursue? Why or why not?

We sincerely appreciate your feedback!




Cable Green, PhD
Director of Global Learning

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