The Brazilian Ministry of Culture has removed the logo of the Creative Commons license from its website. Since Gilberto Gil was ahead of the Ministry (2003-2008), all the content of the website has been licensed in Creative Commons.

The removal has been interpreted by the Brazilian civil society as a sign of the Minister ´s inflexibility. The removal came right after the publicization of an open letter, asking for the continuation of the policies that were adopted or were under discussion during the government of Lula. Minister Ana de Hollanda has criticized the proposal for copyright reform, which would, among of things, introduce important exceptions and limitations in Brazilian law.

Ronaldo Lemos, director of the Center for Technology and Society of FGV, and director of Creative Commons Brazil has made an analysis of the juridical consequences of the attitude carried out by the Ministry:

“After this change the website of the Ministry of Culture has no license that authorizes the use of the content that is there. The CC license has been replaced by a phrase that from a legal standpoint does not mean anything [“The contents of this site, produced by the Ministry of Culture, can be reproduced provided that the source is cited”]. Anyone using the contents of the site faces a huge problem of legal uncertainty: this usage does not have support in any legal document. Moreover, the phrase that the Ministry put on the site to replace CC license refers only to ‘reproduction’. CC licenses have a much broader and better formulation, including collaborative production, the development of derivative works, dissemination and so on.

Another problem is related to the content licensed in CC over the past six years. Removing the logo does not mean that the content has ceased to be licensed under Creative Commons. The 4th clause of the CC licenses requires that if the content is licensed in CC, the presence of the logo is mandatory. If the Ministry removes the logo, but the content is still licensed in CC, there is a violation of the license and the copyright related to it”.

Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, has spoken with one of the main newspapers in Brazil about the case. One year ago Lessig met President Dilma Rousseff at Campus Party, in Sao Paulo. According to Lessig, “She made it clear that she wanted to continue the progressive work of Minister Gil. I’d be very surprised if she changes her mind”.

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