I heard my name mentioned on Blogalization, where iggy has been discussing the difficulty of translating the term ‘creative commons’ into Spanish, quoting this note from the Spanish translator of a Cory Doctorow essay on E-Books:
bq. This text originally dealt with what in North American law is called the “public domain,” the place where texts whose copyrights have expired end up. The meaning of “dominio público” in Spanish law, however, which follows the European tradition of authorial rights, is different from that of “public domain” …
bq. Is the notion of the “creative commons” Anglocentric? Does it presuppose the framework of the English common law, and is it translatable into the terms of other legals systems (such as Brazil’s Roman and Napoleonic legal system)? How do such questions affect the ongoing project for the international commons, which aims to “port” the Creative Commons license in collaboration with local initiatives such as International Commons Spain and International Commons Brazil?
This is quite clearly a question for Professor Lenz, who teaches German law in Japan and has weblogs in English, German and Japanese, and who is my authority for us being cautious about creative commons.
I don’t know this area. But this is my feeling: it isn’t a common law / civil law question, for all the term ‘commons’ is used (I’ve already pointed out today that there are several meanings of ‘common law’, and here’s another term). Well, it is, but not because the difference between the copyright systems is rooted in the two legal systems and could never be changed. But there is a difference in that I think you can’t 100% give your copyright away in German law – that’s what they mean by ‘authorial’. I don’t even know what the situation is in England; hasn’t it changed in that direction too (asserting one’s ‘moral rights’, for instance). Anyway, that doesn’t really matter, because you can still give the rights of use, give as much as you can. If you call it creative commons, it just won’t go quite as far as it would in the USA (is that correct, experts?). The problem was that under creative commons you remained liable for throughput. Professor Lenz highlighted
I see there are new creative commons licences out today (2.0), incidentally.
But the main point of this late – or early – post is to publicize the translation question.