23 December 2004

Creative Commons license: Problem with enforcing copyrights in China

Summary

An entry was created on 18 Dec 2004, yet someone in China appears to have copied one of Mud's Tests blogspot entries without complying with the creative commons license.

Note the blog entry was correctly identified in del.icio.us and donews, the same date the information was copied in China. Ref Ref Ref Ref

A lack of enforcement of a copyright provision under a creative commons license should not be construed as a waiver of the creative commons terms, which remain in full force.

However, at this juncture, it appears as though the apparent "unauthorized use without attribution" cannot be traced to a specific individual. Due to traceability issues, we assert the rights, but the costs of pre-litigation investigation far exceed the possible damage award.

Discussion

Theory collides with reality. This blogspot outlines the challenge of enforcing copyright under the creative commons license in China.

China is not a lawless land. The highest court in China recognizes:
The website was ordered to pay compensation ranging from 720 yuan (US$87) to 13,080 yuan (US$1,576) for uploading articles written by the authors without permission. . . . The limit on compensation awards has been set at 500,000 yuan (US$60,000) when the loss can not be decided. Ref
Note the Attorney awards for civil litigation.

Attribution is not a new problem in China. Although related to WTO entry, note the exceptions to copyright law when China is not a member of IFFRO.

Copied site without complying with the Creative Commons license

Note that Mud's Tests clearly displays the Creative Commons license in the right index. Mud's Tests alleges that even though the world was given the free use to copy and distribute, they still didn't comply with the terms and conditions.

This site alleges that material was originally created and published on Mud's Tests then copied. Notice the article originally appeared on this site, yet it is in this archive a day later.

Mud's Tests alleges the owner of the blogspot-site copied the original work without adequately citing the original work.

Restatement of Terms of Use

You are free to copy anything on this site. If you want to copy the information on your site, please provide a link-back. If you do not understand this, then talk to your attorney.

Now we get to find out whether the creative commons license is worth anything. In other words, even though the terms appear to have been violated, we have yet to understand what defense they have. A creative commons license is designed to let you freely copy the material, just as long as you provide a link to the original material or include an attribution.

Problem

Notice the site is only linked to in one place, suggesting the author is, in fact, located in China. Ref Sitelookup takes us to Beijing, but the two listed IPs have problems and errors. Note the error at SpamBag, indicating they are not responsive.

Resolution

If they were responsible, they would realize they had two options:

A. Leave the site up as listed, and provide a link back, per the terms and conditions; or

B. Delete the copied material from the blog spot.

Observations

1. It would be nice if GoogleBlogger took down the site in China that appears to be violating copyrights without adequate attribution.

2. A creative commons license doesn't mean anything if the other party chooses not to be traceable, unresponsive, and/or is posting from a remote location.

Summation

The most effective option would be for GoogleBlogger to disconnect the site.
Summary

An entry was created on 18 Dec 2004, yet someone in China appears to have copied one of Mud's Tests blogspot entries without complying with the creative commons license.

Note the blog entry was correctly identified in del.icio.us and donews, the same date the information was copied in China. Ref Ref Ref Ref

A lack of enforcement of a copyright provision under a creative commons license should not be construed as a waiver of the creative commons terms, which remain in full force.

However, at this juncture, it appears as though the apparent "unauthorized use without attribution" cannot be traced to a specific individual. Due to traceability issues, we assert the rights, but the costs of pre-litigation investigation far exceed the possible damage award.

Discussion

Theory collides with reality. This blogspot outlines the challenge of enforcing copyright under the creative commons license in China.

China is not a lawless land. The highest court in China recognizes:
The website was ordered to pay compensation ranging from 720 yuan (US$87) to 13,080 yuan (US$1,576) for uploading articles written by the authors without permission. . . . The limit on compensation awards has been set at 500,000 yuan (US$60,000) when the loss can not be decided. Ref
Note the Attorney awards for civil litigation.

Attribution is not a new problem in China. Although related to WTO entry, note the exceptions to copyright law when China is not a member of IFFRO.

Copied site without complying with the Creative Commons license

Note that Mud's Tests clearly displays the Creative Commons license in the right index. Mud's Tests alleges that even though the world was given the free use to copy and distribute, they still didn't comply with the terms and conditions.

This site alleges that material was originally created and published on Mud's Tests then copied. Notice the article originally appeared on this site, yet it is in this archive a day later.

Mud's Tests alleges the owner of the blogspot-site copied the original work without adequately citing the original work.

Restatement of Terms of Use

You are free to copy anything on this site. If you want to copy the information on your site, please provide a link-back. If you do not understand this, then talk to your attorney.

Now we get to find out whether the creative commons license is worth anything. In other words, even though the terms appear to have been violated, we have yet to understand what defense they have. A creative commons license is designed to let you freely copy the material, just as long as you provide a link to the original material or include an attribution.

Problem

Notice the site is only linked to in one place, suggesting the author is, in fact, located in China. Ref Sitelookup takes us to Beijing, but the two listed IPs have problems and errors. Note the error at SpamBag, indicating they are not responsive.

Resolution

If they were responsible, they would realize they had two options:

A. Leave the site up as listed, and provide a link back, per the terms and conditions; or

B. Delete the copied material from the blog spot.

Observations

1. It would be nice if GoogleBlogger took down the site in China that appears to be violating copyrights without adequate attribution.

2. A creative commons license doesn't mean anything if the other party chooses not to be traceable, unresponsive, and/or is posting from a remote location.

Summation

The most effective option would be for GoogleBlogger to disconnect the site.
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