Lawrence Lessig blogs some “huge and important news” about Creative Commons and other open source licensing systems.
In essence, a Federal Appeals court has ruled that they are valid and enforceable.
In non-technical terms, the Court has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you’re simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.
I don’t understand all the legalese behind what the court decided, which is why I read Lessig in the first place.
He’s the expert and if he’s “very very happy”, that must be good for all of us who use CC, both as creators and consumers.