Creative Commons (CC) licenses are known to be irrevocable. The documentation even contains a paragraph named "What if I change my mind about using a CC license ?".

Recently, I have encountered that in French Intellectual Property (IP) law, allows a "droit de retrait" (retraction/removal right in English) which is definitely incompatible with CC license.

Which one primes on the other? I would probably say that French Law is more powerful and would void the contract, but a second opinion is very welcomed (especially with more information).

  • 2
    Furthermore, if French law has precedence over the terms of the CC license, does that mean that CC licenses are invalid in France, or only that the copyright owner is able to revoke them in France?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 15:20
  • Also, there might be differences about the different CC versions. Of course, I am more interested in 3.0 (which is one of the most used) and 4.0 which is the last one used.
    – brclz
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I am not an expert in French law, but do read French semi-decently.

French Law is indeed more powerful than a CC license. This is because licenses are contracts, and contracts only have as much force as the law provides for.

As previously mentioned on this site, Creative Commons acknowledges that even a CC0 license (the least restrictive CC licence) cannot necessarily revoke all of an author's rights, particularly moral rights.

In France, moral rights include a droit de retrait. This does not mean the CC license as a whole would be invalid, but it certainly seems that an irrevocability clause would be.

Side note: The droit de retrait is hard to invoke and is not applicable to software.

  • 1
    Thank you. I would also add that moral rights are inalienable (can't be canceled/blocked or transferred to someone else).
    – brclz
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 7:13

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