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Creative Commons 3.0 Public draft -- news and questions

So, I have big news and a big question.

Big news

Creative Commons has announced the public draft of the next version of
their license suite:


The changes from the 2.x version are largely due to an effort to make
the licenses compatible with the DFSG. Over the last year, the Debian
Creative Commons Workgroup has worked with Creative Commons to smooth
out the rough edges of license. DDs have already seen it, but there's a
report here on the work:


Big question

The main question I want to ask debian-legal is this:

        Does the anti-DRM requirement in the CCPL 3.0 draft, without a
        parallel distribution proviso, make it incompatible with the
That question needs some clarification, though.

The big question for debian-legal is whether the new license draft is
compatible with the DFSG. I hope that debian-legal subscribers will look
over the new license carefully and post opinions here or on the
cc-licenses mailing list.

Creative Commons met almost all of the Workgroup's recommendations, and
after a lot of review we've agreed that the works licensed solely under
the CCPL 3.0 draft would be Free... with one exception.

The exception is that the CCPL 3.0 has an anti-DRM (or anti-TPM)
provision that doesn't allow distribution with copy protection features.
The traditional wisdom is that prohibiting use of TPM puts an undue
restriction on developers and doesn't let them experiment with
TPM-required platforms. (Some console game systems, for example, require
TPM for a program to run on the system.) Restricting the systems that a
program can be ported to is incompatible with DFSG#3.

One way to make anti-TPM clauses compatible with the DFSG is to allow
"parallel distribution" -- that is, a developer can create a TPM'd
version of a work as long as they also make available a cleartext one
that people can modify, copy, etc. This lets developers experiment, but
also lets downstream users exercise their rights, too.

We'd originally negotiated a parallel distribution proviso, but the
extra clause was later removed. So, the CCPL 3.0 license draft has this
language for DRM restrictions:

        You may not impose any technological measures on the Work that
        restrict the ability of a recipient of the Work from You to
        exercise the rights granted to them under the License.

Since we negotiated the license changes, Debian has had a GR to allow
works licensed under the GFDL into main. The GFDL has the following
anti-DRM clause:

        You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the
        reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute.

GR 2006-01 says, in part,

        Similarly, we do not think that GFDL covered documentation is
        non-free because of the measures taken in the license against
        misuse of DRM-protected media.

The Debian Creative Commons Workgroup couldn't come to a clear
conclusion on the matter, and it's not 100% clear what the effect of GR
2006-01 is on Debian as a whole.

In my personal opinion, the question boils down to these points:

     1. Was GR 2006-01 an exception to the DFSG, or a clarification of
        our principles?
     2. If it was a clarification, does this mean that anti-DRM clauses
        like the one in the FDL are compatible with the DFSG?
     3. If so, is the anti-DRM clause in the CCPL 3.0 draft similar
        enough to the FDL's anti-DRM clause for us to consider it
        compatible with the DFSG?

My personal opinion is that in light of GR 2006-01 this kind of
restriction is compatible with the DFSG. (I also personally think that
anti-DRM clauses are really bad for Free Content; see


...for more. I voted against this part of GR 2006-01, for the record.) 

I'd love to hear some opinions on the matter, and I'd be happy to
collect them and present them to Creative Commons. It's not clear how
long the public comments period is, so there is a time factor here.


Evan Prodromou <evan@debian.org>
The Debian Project (http://www.debian.org/)

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