I wrote content for 2 years on a website licensed under creative commons license CC-SA-BY 3.0. The community has become increasingly toxic and abusive and I no longer wished to be affiliated with the project. Upon requesting that my content be removed from the site the admin refused claiming that it was community property, before the owner claimed that I didnt write it and that he can do anything he wants with it according to creative commons.

Is there legal action I can take to have my content removed from the site? I have drafts to prove that I am in fact the original author.


You can't

Under clause 7(b) of the CC-SA-BY 3.0 the licence is irrevocable providing that the licensee complies with its terms.

However, ...

It appears that your work is part of a Collection (as defined and under clause 4(a), the licensee has this obligation:

If You create a Collection, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Collection any credit as required by Section 4(c), as requested.

While you cannot have your work removed, you can have the attribution removed so that no one knows that it is your work - this would seem to meet your desire of having no association with the website. "To the extent practicable" should include anonymising you.

As a bonus, if they don't do this "to the extent practicable" then they are in breach of the licence and it's automatically revoked - you can then proceed with DCMA takedown notices and/or sue for copyright breach.


It is possible to stop distributing your work under a creative commons license, however that does not revoke the license from anybody who already accepted the license. It does also not stop them from redistributing the work under the same license. See Article 7(b) of CC-SA-BY 3.0:

b. Subject to the above terms and conditions, the license granted here is perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright in the Work). Notwithstanding the above, Licensor reserves the right to release the Work under different license terms or to stop distributing the Work at any time; provided, however that any such election will not serve to withdraw this License (or any other license that has been, or is required to be, granted under the terms of this License), and this License will continue in full force and effect unless terminated as stated above.

The license will be terminated when any of the license conditions is breached. One of the conditions is attribution. So if you did supply your name (full name, pseudonym, or user name), and it has been removed by someone else, the license has automatically been terminated for that website. Note that attribution can be done in different ways, for example wikipedia uses the history pages for attribution, that is fine. See Article 7(a) of CC-SA-BY 3.0:

a. This License and the rights granted hereunder will terminate automatically upon any breach by You of the terms of this License. Individuals or entities who have received Adaptations or Collections from You under this License, however, will not have their licenses terminated provided such individuals or entities remain in full compliance with those licenses. Sections 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8 will survive any termination of this License.

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