[Open-access] CC-BY v. CC-BY-SA

Pierre-Carl Langlais pierrecarl.langlais at gmail.com
Mon Jan 27 12:15:57 UTC 2014

Hi everyone,

I've made some careful reading of the Creative Commons terms. While the 
differences between CC-By and CC-By-SA remain somewhat fuzzy, the 
interpretation of Mike Taylor sounds quite sensible: "my understanding 
of the distinction between CC By and CC By-SA is now that the former is 
viral only with respect to COPIES of the document so licenced, whereas 
the latter is also viral with respect to derivative works."

So what can we do with a CC-By?

1. Republish the original work under a stricter license or traditional 
copyright: clearly no. That would certainly go against the /No 
additional restriction/ specification: "You may not apply legal terms or 
technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything 
the license permits."

2. Republish the original work under stricter license / copyright with 
wide modifications: probably OK. We can deduce from the absence of the 
Share Alike, that CC-By works can be redistributed under other terms 
whenever one "remix, transform, or build upon the material"

2. Republish the original work under stricter license / copyright with 
minor modifications: grey area. Minor modifications are probably not 
enough to claim a transformative use.

3. Make some data-mining with the original work: probably OK. Recent 
jurisprudence showed that data-mining is a transformative use (see the 
recent Google Books decision...)

4. Republish the original work, yet within an innovative reading frame: 
grey area. This is certainly transformative, although the original work 
remains untouched.

CC-By is, so far, not a simple license. While the legal mechanism is 
sounder than I thought (with an efficient frame to guarantee the 
preservation of the original license), it gives way to numerous greay 
areas. The easier way is clearly to state that the original work « was » 
in CC-By and links to the original version (which is no more complicated 
than giving the credits to the original authors).

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