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What is the CC0 Creative Commons Public Dedication License?

Posted by Steve Vondran | Aug 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

Attorney Steve® Copyright Law Essentials – The Public Domain Dedication (Creative Commons ZERO)

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Here are a few basic points to digest to better understand this article.

Copyright law protects creative works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

No copyright registration is required, but registration has its benefits (the main one being the right to sue for “statutory” damages up to $150,000 for willful copyright infringement).

When you have copyrights, you have a “bundle of rights.”  These rights include the right to:

  1. Make copies of your work
  2. Distribute
  3. Publicly perform
  4. Publicly display
  5. Make “derivative” works (ex. turning a photograph into a wall mural)

Each of these rights can be INDEPENDENTLY LICENSED to one or more parties.

This has always been the case.  However, with the changing of the times, and moving into a “sharing culture” we now have a new set of copyright rules (not that the old ones are gone) but there is an easy way for an artist, author, musician, photographer, videographer, or filmmaker to grant permissions to other people to use their works, without there needing to be a big hassle, emails seeking permission, etc.  It's called “Creative Commons.”  There are several different types of rights a copyright holder can grant another person, this blog discuss the PUBLIC DOMAIN DEDICATION.

This is called CC0 and this puts the work into the public domain, virtually allowing anyone (ex. someone trying to startup a youtube channel), to use the photo, image, video, jingle, etc, in the manner allowed.

Attorney Steve® Tip:  You always need to check to see if there are any special restrictions placed on the work at issue as you will likely be bound by any rules.  But in most cases, the public domain work will allow you to do the things listed below.

Characteristics of the CC0 1.0 Universal Creative Commons License

Here are the basic characteristics of this license:

1. No copyrights are reserved by the author or artist

2. No attribution is required (but usually is appreciated).

3.  Work can be used for personal or commercial purposes

4.  User can modify, copy, distribute, publicly perform, etc.

5.  No need to ask for permission

6.  Can use on derivate products

7.  If you see people in the image do not use the Work in a manner that depicts the person in a negative or disparaging light

8.  Also, bear in mind that there is always some risk that the person depicted in the photo/video did not consent to the photo/video (for example no model release form was signed) so bear this in mind.   This could implicate State Right of Publicity Laws.  Note however that uses for news, sports, public affairs and other first amendment uses of the Work, even with a person identified without their consent, could be deemed an exception to the Right of Publicity statutes (for example, see California Civil Code section 3344).

9.  In using the publicly dedicated Work make sure not to imply that the author, artist or photographer endorses your project or use of the Work.

You can find our more information abut the CC0 license here.

Websites where you can find public domain PHOTOS and IMAGES.

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Where can you find Public Domain VIDEO CLIPS for your YouTube Channel

Contact a Copyright Licensing & Infringement Lawyer

If you need help with a legal issue involving Creative Commons Copyright licensing law, contact us at (877) 276-5084.  We can assist with licensing issues, cease and desist letters, DMCA takedown notices, copyright infringement cases and fair use legal issues. 

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337


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