Do not feed the trolls

 Catherine Stihler

Recently, there has been an increase in threatened and actual lawsuits involving CC licensed works, and in some cases, license enforcement has even become a business model. We have now learned that even long-time friend and contributor to Creative Commons, Cory Doctorow, has been targeted.

Put simply, “license-enforcement-as-business model” is a perversion of the founding ideals of Creative Commons. We condemn this behavior. These aggressive enforcement actions lessen trust in open licensing, and they erode the good faith ecosystem that is the basis of the commons.

At CC, we have prioritized work on issues of license enforcement in order to combat this problem . In 2021, we engaged in a public consultation to create and vet a set of principles around when and how CC licenses should be enforced. We also continue to actively promote adoption of the most recent version of CC licenses, the version 4.0 suite, which contains terms that make explicit what for most of CC’s history was implied and upheld by licensors around the world—that errors in license compliance made in good faith should be correctable.

Together with our community, we will continue to take action to deter those who leverage CC licenses in bad faith. The health of the commons depends upon it.