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Creative Commons Version 3.0 Australia Licences — A Brief Explanation

by Jessica Coates, Project Manager, Creative Commons Clinic

The new licences bring Australia in line with the most current CC licence standards being used internationally by adding changes to clarify the operation of the licences and increase their compatibility with other open licensing systems. They also incorporate simplified formatting and language designed to align the licences with Australian conventions and increase their readability.

About the versioning process

For those unfamiliar with the Creative Commons versioning process, every few years Creative Commons updates its core licences to ensure they are keeping up with developments in the world of open access and copyright law. These developments may be the result of, for example, legal decisions, new technologies, or changes in community norms or expectations. The changes to the licences represent a ‘refining’ of the Creative Commons model to ensure it provides the best and most up-to-date tools for creators and users alike.

When new versions of the licences are released they become the new default standard for their region. The older versions remain accessible on the Creative Commons website but are no longer available through the Creative Commons licence chooser. Works already licensed remain under their original licence, unless the creator chooses to transfer them across to the new version.

About the v3.0 licences

The third versions of the Creative Commons international licences were released in 2007, and introduced three major changes:

  • The addition of new ‘no endorsement’ language, which states that a person should not use the attribution required by all CC licences to improperly assert or imply an association or relationship with the licensor or author. This has been implicit in the Creative Commons licences from the start, but we thought it was worth making it explicit. For a more detailed explanation, see here.
  • The inclusion of language in the BY-SA licence to make it possible for derivatives to be relicensed under a “Creative Commons Compatible License”. This change is an important first step towards CC’s long-held objective of increasing interoperability between different flexible content copyright licences. It is this language, for example, that allowed This is part of the same compatibility movement that led Wikipedia to be ported across to the BY-SA licence in May last year. More information about this change is provided here.
  • The clarification of how moral rights and collecting society royalties are dealt with under the Creative Commons licences. You can read more about these changes here.

About the Australian licences

The Australian v3.0 licences port these changes across to an Australian legal context. They have been developed over the last few years via a public consultation process. We thank all of those who provided feedback on the licences, particularly our colleagues at CC Aoteoroa New Zealand and within the Australian government and non-profit sectors.

Our main aims during the Australian v3.0 drafting process were to ensure that the new licences:

  • complied with Australian legal requirements and conventions;
  • aligned with the rights and restrictions of the Unported (ie non-country specific) licences provided by Creative Commons; and
  • were clear and easy for creators and users alike to read and understand.

Based on these aims, we made the following changes to the licences:

  • adapting the Unported formatting and language to bring them more in line with Australian law and drafting conventions – mainly by using localised definitions and introducing lists and headings;
  • simplifying some of the language, where this would not affect the legal interpretation of the licence – many of these simplifications were adopted from the recent version put together by our friends in New Zealand;
  • a few minor additions to clarify the operation of the licences in the Australian context, in response to feedback from our consultation process – these included clarifying how the licences operate with respect to sublicensing and adding language to ensure that the licences comply with the requirements of Australian consumer protection law.

We are happy to release these licences, which we believe provide clear, reasonable and legally sound options for creators and users alike and represent a new best practice standard for the CC licences in Australia. If you would like any more information about the licences please feel free to contact us at info@creativecommons.org.au. For more information on the versioning process contact the Creative Commons head office.

Credits—Screen capture: Of Attritbution, Attribution-Noncommercial and Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Australia licence Commons Deeds by Creative Commons Corporation, CC BY3.0 Unported.

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