US Court of Appeals upholds free licenses

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The reversed copyright symbol often used to illustrate free media
Image: Zscout370.

Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a lower court ruling and held that licenses such as Creative Commons (CC) licenses set conditions on the use of copyrighted work as opposed to covenants. This means that if a creative work is being used outside the terms of the license, the person modifying or republishing the work is guilty of copyright infringement for failing to attribute the original work.

Academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig stated it was "a very important victory" for free licensing, and expressed his gratitude for the part Stanford Center for Internet and Society, a project he founded, played in achieving the finding.

A previous court ruling had denied relief to the plaintiff stating that its Artistic License only demanded contractual promises; that a violation thereof would not be, in fact a copyright infringement.