Codes of Conduct Enforcement

Codes of Conduct

This document provides incident reporting guidelines and an enforcement manual for the following codes of conduct used by Creative Commons:

Reporting Guidelines

If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct, we ask that you report it to Creative Commons by emailing All reports will be kept confidential. In some cases we may determine that a public statement will need to be made, which the committee may make in its discretion. The identities of all victims and reporters will remain confidential unless those individuals instruct us otherwise.

If you believe anyone is in physical danger, please notify appropriate emergency personnel first. If you are unsure what proper authorities are appropriate, please include this in your report and we will attempt to notify them.

If you are unsure whether the incident is a violation, or whether the space where it happened is covered by this Code of Conduct, we still encourage you to report it. We would much rather have a few extra reports where we decide to take no action, rather than miss a report of an actual violation. We do not look negatively on you if we find the incident is not a violation. Knowing about incidents that are not violations, or happen outside our spaces, can also help us to improve the Code of Conduct or the processes surrounding it.

In your report please include:

  • Your contact info (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up)
  • Names (real, nicknames, or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there were other witnesses besides you, please try to include them as well.
  • When and where the incident occurred. Please be as specific as possible.
  • Your account of what occurred. If there is a publicly available record (e.g. a mailing list archive or a Slack message) please include a link.
  • Any extra context for the incident.
  • If you believe this incident is ongoing.
  • Any other information the committee should have.

Conflicts of Interest

In the event of any conflict of interest a committee member must immediately notify the other members, and recuse themselves if the other committee members believe a conflict exists. If a report concerns a possible violation by a current committee member, this member must be excluded from the response process. For these cases, anyone can make a report directly to the CC Legal team at instead of through the regular process, above.

Enforcement Manual

This manual mainly covers reports of code of conduct violations from community members. If an administrator of a forum notices ongoing or dangerous behavior that violates the code of conduct (such as spam), they may act unilaterally as described in the Acting Unilaterally section below.

The Code of Conduct Committee

All responses to reports of conduct violations will be managed by a Code of Conduct Committee ("the committee"), which will be comprised of three members of Creative Commons staff. The Code of Conduct Committee will serve in the role of "project maintainers" as described in the Contributor Covenant.

Current Code of Conduct Committee

How the committee will respond to reports

When a report is sent to the committee they will reply promptly, and within no more than 2 Creative Commons business days.

See the reporting guidelines above for details of what reports should contain. If a report doesn't contain enough information, the committee will obtain all relevant data before acting.

The committee will then review the incident and determine, to the best of their ability:

  • what happened
  • whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation
  • who, if anyone, acted in contravention of the policy
  • whether this is an ongoing situation, and if there is a threat to anyone's physical safety

The committee should aim to have a resolution agreed upon within one week. In the event that a resolution can't be determined in that time, the committee will respond to the reporter(s) with an update and projected timeline for resolution.

Acting Unilaterally

Not every situation acted upon by the Code of Conduct Committee will be the result of a report from the community. In some cases, a Code of Conduct Committee member will witness a violation themselves. If the act is ongoing (such as someone engaging in harassment in an IRC channel or spamming a Slack channel), or involves a threat to anyone's safety (e.g. threats of violence), any committee member may act immediately (before reaching consensus) to end the situation. In ongoing situations, any member may at their discretion employ any of the tools available to the committee, including bans and blocks.

If the incident involves physical danger, any member of the committee may -- and should -- act unilaterally to protect safety. This can include contacting appropriate emergency personnel first or speaking on behalf of Creative Commons.

In situations where an individual committee member acts unilaterally, they must report their actions to the committee for review within 1 business day.

Enforcement Guidelines

The committee will follow the Community Impact Guidelines, below, in determining the consequences for any action they deem in violation of this Code of Conduct.

The committee should strive to agree on a resolution by consensus (i.e. no one on the committee chooses to veto the course of action). As soon as the committee determines it is unable to reach consensus or it has been deadlocked for over 2 business days after acknowledging receipt of the issue, the committee will turn the matter over to the CC legal team for resolution.

Once a resolution is agreed upon, but before it is enacted, the committee will contact the original reporter and any other affected parties and explain the proposed resolution. The committee will ask if this resolution is acceptable, and must note feedback for the record. However, the committee is not required to act on this feedback.

1. Correction

Community Impact: Use of inappropriate language or other behavior deemed unprofessional or unwelcome in the community.

Consequence: A private, written warning from community leaders, providing clarity around the nature of the violation and an explanation of why the behavior was inappropriate. A public apology may be requested.

2. Warning

Community Impact: A violation through a single incident or series of actions.

Consequence: A warning with consequences for continued behavior. No interaction with the people involved, including unsolicited interaction with those enforcing the Code of Conduct, for a specified period of time. This includes avoiding interactions in community spaces as well as external channels like social media. Violating these terms may lead to a temporary or permanent ban.

3. Temporary Ban

Community Impact: A serious violation of community standards, including sustained inappropriate behavior.

Consequence: A temporary ban from any sort of interaction or public communication with the community for a specified period of time. No public or private interaction with the people involved, including unsolicited interaction with those enforcing the Code of Conduct, is allowed during this period. Violating these terms may lead to a permanent ban.

4. Permanent Ban

Community Impact: Demonstrating a pattern of violation of community standards, including sustained inappropriate behavior, harassment of an individual, or aggression toward or disparagement of classes of individuals.

Consequence: A permanent ban from any sort of public interaction within the community.


Any of the parties directly involved or affected can request reconsideration of the committee’s decision. To make such a request, contact the CC Legal team at with your request and reason and they will review the case.

Policy Revision

This policy may be revised and updated by Creative Commons from time to time. You should not participate in our digital communities unless you agree with and comply with the current policy.

Last Revised


This document is adapted from the Django project's Code of Conduct enforcement manual and reporting guidelines, licensed under CC BY 3.0 and the Contributor Covenant, version 2.1, available at

Community Impact Guidelines were inspired by Mozilla's code of conduct enforcement ladder.