This is a guest blog post by Timothy Vollmer, Manager of Policy and Data at Creative Commons.

Creative Commons has finally released Version 4.0 of the license suite. It’s been two years since we began the license update process, but now it’s done. The 4.0 licenses are the most global, legally robust licenses produced by CC to date.

You can find highlights of the changes on the website. Probably the most significant improvement is the expansion in license scope to include sui generis database rights–those copyright-like rights that exist in Europe and a few other countries which are granted to those who exert some effort into compiling a database. The 4.0 licenses (of course, those aligned with the Open Definition) are now better suited for use by governments and publishers of public sector information and open data. A few other changes:

A more global license
The new licenses have improved terminology that’s better understood worldwide. And there will be official translations of the CC licenses, so that users of around the world can read and understand the complete licenses in their local languages.

Common-sense attribution
The licenses explicitly permit licensees to satisfy the attribution requirement with a link to a separate page for attribution information. This was already common practice on the internet and possible under earlier versions of the licenses, and Version 4.0 alleviates any uncertainty about its use.

30-day window to correct license violations
All CC licenses terminate when a licensee breaks their terms, but under 4.0, a licensee’s rights are reinstated automatically if she corrects a breach within 30 days of discovering it. This is common sense and how several other open licenses handle inadvertent violations.

Clarity about adaptations
The BY and BY-NC 4.0 licenses are more clear about how adaptations are to be licensed. These licenses now clarify that you can apply any license to your contributions you want so long as your license doesn’t prevent users of the remix from complying with the original license.

There is a more in-depth discussion of the various policy decisions and versioning considerations here. We extend our gracious thanks to everyone in the open licensing community who’ve helped bring 4.0 to life.

Image source: By Petey21 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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