Creative Commons in Ireland: Cimín Cruthaitheach in Éireann

Creative CommonsThere is a tension at the heart of creativity. On the one hand, I might be moved by the muse to write/paint/create something interesting (I know, if you’ve read anything on this blog, you might wonder if that muse has ever struck, but bear with me). If I am, the law is likely to reward me for doing so by giving me a copyright (or similar intellectual property right) in what I have written/painted/created. On the other hand, the muse might strike you in such a way as to develop what I have done (entirely plausible, if you ask me), but my copyright protection can make this hard for you. You could email me and ask me if I’d let you do it, and I’d probably say yes. But now, multiply this a million million fold, to take into account everyone who has copyright and everyone who wants to develop a copyrighted work. Asking for individual permission every time becomes a logistical nightmare. So, Creative Commons has filled the gap, by drafting licences which any copyright holder may use to determine how others may exercise their copyright rights. If you look below the last post at the bottom of this page, you will see that I use just such a licence to allow you to use and share the contents of this blog, provided that you do so for non-commercial reasons and give me an attribution.

The terms of this licence are drafted having regard to US copyright law, which is similar to Irish copyright law in the same way as close cousins are similar: there is a strong family resemblance, but there are very important differences. The similarities are enough that I can reasonably use the US text, and I do; but it would be better to have a version drafted specifically to take Irish law into account. As I have mentioned previously on this blog, for some time now, Dr Darius Whelan and Louise Crowley of the Law Faculty, UCC have been working on just such a draft of an Irish Creative Commons Licence.

We are now fortunate to have the next fruits of that labour, as they have just announced that an Irish draft of the Creative Commons license version 3.0 is now available for public discussion, on either their mailing list or their blog. They have taken the existing US Creative Commons v3.0 licence and localised it to Irish conditions in the light of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 (also here) as amended in 2004 (also here) and 2007 (also here).

They have produced a good summary (pdf) of their reasoning for the various changes they recommend. It seems to me thorough, comprehensive, and persuasive – all in all, an excellent piece of work which will benefit the entire Irish online community. I eagerly look forward to the day when I make this blog subject to the Irish version of the licence. In the meantime, click on the widget below: