Julian Dibbell’s almost Creative Commons book

Julian Dibbell, noted journalist of all of the best and most interesting things Internet, has just published a solid rundown of some of the problems he has encountered in CC licensing his (99%) out of print book MY TINY LIFE. This is really useful to consider in terms of rights and permissions internationally. If it is going to be Creative Commons, it has to be Creative Commons internationally.

But once again I was getting ahead of myself. At the last minute it occurred to me to run a small question by Lessig that might, I figured, require some finessing: The rights that Henry Holt had returned to me were almost worldwide, but not quite. In the UK and Australia, the rights had been sold to 4th Estate, an imprint of HarperCollins Ltd., and there the book remained nominally in print and therefore out of my hands. Was there something I would have to do to the Creative Commons license, some tweak or another, to keep it from stepping on HarperCollins UK’s rights?

Well, no, said Larry. There was nothing I had to do because there was nothing I could do, not by tweaking the license at any rate. “The [CC] licenses cannot be geographically limited, so the conflict is real,” he wrote me. “You need a waiver from 4th Estate.”

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