Earlier this month, Matthew Miller suggested the Fedora Council update the default content license from the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. This license applies to content (not code) submitted to Fedora that does not have an explicit license attached. It does not override the explicit license choices of contributors or upstream projects.

While CC BY-SA 3.0 and CC BY-SA 4.0 share the same philosophical underpinnings, version 4 includes some meaningful improvements that benefit our community:

  • CC BY-SA 4.0 is global in scope, so does not require “porting” to individual jurisdictions the way previous versions did. This is an obvious benefit to a project with users and contributors worldwide.
  • CC BY-SA 4.0 also has official translations available. Translating legal documents requires translating not just the text, but the legal meaning. This makes unofficial translations questionable in legal contexts.
  • The attribution requirements in CC BY-SA 4.0 have been brought in line with the generally-accepted practices used by creators.
  • License violations under CC BY-SA 4.0 are automatically cured if they are fixed within 30 days of discovery.

The Fedora Project Contributor Agreement (FPCA), which all Fedora contributors sign, allows the Council to modify the default license:

The Fedora Council may, by public announcement, subsequently designate an additional or alternative default license for a given category of Contribution (a “Later Default License”). A Later Default License shall be chosen from the appropriate categorical sublist of Acceptable Licenses For Fedora.

FPCA (section 3)

In accordance with the Policy Change Policy, the Fedora Council will begin voting on this on 15 April.