[okfn-discuss] The Political Spectrum

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Tue Feb 20 12:06:55 UTC 2007

Julian Priest wrote:
> Hi All,
> hope this isn't OT for the list but wondered if I could ask some advice.
> I'm doing the documentation for a piece I did last year at the Waves
> exhibition in Riga called the Political Spectrum.
> The piece was a 6 meter white board which was added to by hundreds of
> visitors to the exhibition over the course of about a month so it is a
> work created entireley in a public space by multiple authors. I've
> given the actual piece to a Public Institution in Latvia (the
> University of Riga) and now want to distribute an image of it in a
> digital form and want that to be in the public domain to the maximum
> possible extent.
> I guess as the photographer the copyright of the photograph is
> currently with me so will doing something like a Creative Commons
> public domain declaration be ok?

You as the photographer definitely have copyright in the photographs. 
However if the underlying object is copyrightable then the photograph 
probably counts as a derivative work and, in theory, you need to have 
permission from the copyright owners of the underlying work -- in this 
case all those who contributed to making it!

Thus, in theory, you need the permission of all of the those people in 
order to make your photograph available (unless one argues that as the 
creator/curator of the exhibit they all implicitly assigned their 
copyright to you). In reality you can probably go ahead.

> Does anyone know if a declaration like that has any validity outside
> the US?

This is a hotly debated issue (in fact in the UK the very validity of 
any Creative Commons license is questioned by some on the basis that 
without a genuine 'consideration' the contract is void). Frankly I 
wouldn't worry too much here: if necessary (a) just dual license under 
the pd and attribution licenses and ensure (b) state that you are 
simultaneously licensing under all possible country versions of that 
license with (in the case of any conflict) the most liberal provisions 

I've cc'd Prodromos Tsiavos on this who was one of the main drafters of 
the CC-UK licenses and he might have some additional comments.



PS: all the usual IANAL and this is not legal advice type stuff applies.

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