Is anyone considering CC-0?


Hi all, I’m working at the City of Melbourne now. I’m considering whether CC-0 would be a simpler alternative to CC-BY for our data, which would reduce basically eliminate all the complexity around data licensing and working out whether people can reuse our data.

Is this on anyone else’s radar?


@b.appleyard addressed CC0 in this topic. Hope that helps…


While I’m no lawyer my understanding is that you could license with a CC0 and it would greatly simplify the challenges requiring attribution creates. When I’ve raised this one the general resistance appears to be with the strong desire for many to retain the copyright. As a CC0 puts the data in the public domain I assume there basically is no copyright. This is very appropriate for straight machine generated data (‘no sweat of brow’ to create or group) and I think for some data this is entirely appropriate too. I will propose this where I see a good candidate and see how we go. Interested to see what you uncover too @steve.bennett .


(Whoops, looks like I didn’t finish sending this message from a fortnight ago!)

Thanks! For our specific case (a government body publishing open data in Australia), many of Baden’s reservations don’t seem to apply:

  • “Moral rights”? When an organisation is jointly producing and sharing the data, they probably don’t apply?
  • “Certainty”? Is there a concrete example here of usage rights under CC-0 being less certain than CC-BY in Australia? I don’t think CC-BY is particularly “certain” for many users, particularly around attribution requirements. (Licence experts may find it sufficiently “certain”, but not newbies.)
  • “Limitation of liability” - this is something I’ll need to look at more closely.
  • “attribution=null” - that sort of makes sense, but would be pretty weird and awkward to explain to end users (“Our data is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution, except you don’t need to attribute us.”). I also can’t help but feel that that would lead to greater disrespect of the attribution requirements of other CC-BY data.

Another benefit of CC-0 is it’s compatible with OpenStreetMap, whereas CC-BY isn’t. (To be precise: a third party can’t take CC-BY data and import it into OSM, because OSM requires signing an agreement which gives the OSM Foundation the future possibility of relicensing the data, and that’s forbidden by CC-BY). The standard workaround is to make a public statement to the effect that we explicitly allow OSM to use our data in that way.


Thanks @steve.bennett. I think the moral rights concern is closely related to the point I had (not well made) which is that organisations want to ensure they retain the integrity and ownership of the content as authors. When it comes to data that is not maintained, particularly for attributes the public care more about that the initial author, then I do question the moral rights argument. This may be a legacy of how the world was when copyright laws were written.

As for the OSM compatibility I’ve managed to get approval for the workaround has have others. The full list is on the OSM Contributors wiki -


Do organisations even get “moral rights”? I thought they only applied to individuals. In any case - what would an example be where an organisation that very obviously produced a dataset (like, the location of all its streetlights) is harmed by being denied their moral rights in law?

I mean, let’s take an extreme case, where some other organisation claims to have created the dataset originally, and our org has “forfeited their moral rights”. So what? What’s the concrete impact?


I don’t know and maybe moral rights isn’t the right term. As mentioned, I’m no lawyer so not sure.

The main point I was trying to raise is that there are some people I’ve spoken with in other organisations we are trying to collaborate with (e.g.: heads of Legal Counsel) who are very firm on wanting to retain copyright as their organisation are the authors. I suspect their are no other concrete impacts at all but it takes some time to change this when perspectives are set and unwavering.

I think I am with you on this but there are many who aren’t.