I am reading through the (dense) legal code of the version 3.0 Creative Commons licenses (no, this is not bedside reading, I am doing some preparation for a meeting tomorrow morning) and I noticed a really interesting restriction common to the Creative Commons licenses that permit derivative works:

Except as otherwise agreed in writing by the Licensor or as may be otherwise permitted by applicable law, if You Reproduce, Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work either by itself or as part of any Adaptations or Collections, You must not distort, mutilate, modify or take other derogatory action in relation to the Work which would be prejudicial to the Original Author’s honor or reputation. Licensor agrees that in those jurisdictions (e.g. Japan), in which any exercise of the right granted in Section 3(b) of this License (the right to make Adaptations) would be deemed to be a distortion, mutilation, modification or other derogatory action prejudicial to the Original Author’s honor and reputation, the Licensor will waive or not assert, as appropriate, this Section, to the fullest extent permitted by the applicable national law, to enable You to reasonably exercise Your right under Section 3(b) of this License (right to make Adaptations) but not otherwise.

In a sense, if you make a derivative work of an original under a Creative Commons license that permits that, you are restricted from creating a derivative that defames the author of the original work. That makes a lot of sense and it was an interesting little discovery for me. It really just goes to show that if you want to get to the heart of these sorts of things, you do need to delve into the sometimes archaic legal terminology. Fortunately there is a growing trend to make these legal documents more intelligible to people without law degrees (and even some people with law degrees).

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,