View Full Version : Creative Commons licensing questions
06-28-2010, 02:09 PM
The issue of compatibility between the Creative Commons licenses and that of CGTextures.com came up in another thread. Since copyright and licensing is a complex and confusing issue, I decided to fork that conversation over here so as not to take the thread terribly off-topic and to make it easier for people to find information about licensing.
Redrobes pointed out that the CGTextures license specifically forbids releasing derivative works (new artwork incorporating their photography) under any kind of open source license. The immediate ramification is that at least one of the two maps I submitted to the CWBP may not be lawfully permitted in that project. I used at least two CGTextures images in my Mennin's Hallow map, so it is not eligible to be released under an open source license. Since the entire CWBP is licensed CC Share Alike Non Commercial, Mennin's Hallow cannot legally be distributed if CC is considered an open source license.
As a side note, that same CC license means that GamerPrinter's Kaidan may also be in not-quite-legal territory, since it is derived from the CWBP project. Likewise, it is unlawful for any of us to sell prints of any map we create for the CWBP. Not that anyone around here is likely to sue over it, but I thought I'd point it out. I've already issued an additional license for my two maps and accompanying text to permit commercial use of derivative works; I don't know if anyone else has done the same.
Now, on to my real confusion: Is a CC license an open source license? As I understand it, it is not. CC makes available the finished artwork, but not necessarily any of the source elements that went into creating it. For instance, a CC license on a piece of music created with Sony Acid does not (as far as I am aware) make available to the licensee any of the loops used in the creation of that piece, except where they can be extracted from the finished music. In contrast, GNU is truly an open source license—every element used in the creation of a GNU work must also be able to be licensed under GNU.
Now, as I said in that other thread, I haven't read any of the legalese in the CC licenses as of yet, so if there are relevant clauses that we should discuss, please post an excerpt or a link to the relevant section when making a reply. I'll try to get in there and look at it myself, too, so that I can have a more intelligent conversation about it.
06-28-2010, 07:34 PM
Here, here - I'm wondering about this as well. I (for the first time) used a couple textures in my challenge entry this month. Now, I'm not selling it or anything but some day soon I wouldn't mind it if I was able to get into doing a few commissions and retire on the beach, ROFL. I did put the little tag line they want on anything that uses one of their textures so I hope that I did that much right.
This whole question of whether I am safe using them or not makes me really lean toward not using them ever again. I prefer to do all my own artwork anyway but it's nice now and then to be able to use textures you don't have to go find and create.
If I understood what I read on the CGTextures site: it's ok to use their stuff and sell it. So long as you are not actually selling the texture as a texture. In a piece of your artwork it's no problem. The issue seems to be if we can use them and have the CC on what we post and share. It sounds like they are saying no.
Thanks for starting the thread Mid. I for one want clarification.
06-28-2010, 08:31 PM
Yes its true that you can't sell maps of CWBP. The maps are free to use. Nobody can buy the rights to own them and remove the right for you to be able to use them for free. Only Neon as the originator of the top world map can make his map only copyright as well as CC because as an original piece of work which he released as CC, he is able to also release it under any other license he feels like. Everyone else below him is under share alike CC. Now before we all ask him to make an exception at the top level, it would create a problem if he did because if people did that then the project would fork into the same image released as free and the one which was copyright with Neons permission to do other stuff to. It still wouldn't stop the CC side of the fork tho. But you could end up in a situation where part of your CWBP world is copyright WotC or Piazo or something and the rest is not.
Also, on the point of Kaiden, I mentioned (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?4740-Working-on-a-publication-Kaidan&p=53955&viewfull=1#post53955) this to GP at the time and I believe he took that on board and moved his setting outside of the CWBP and said that if you wanted to set his copyright Kaiden setting in the CWBP campaign world then it would go on the island in the top left but the setting is not a part of or a derivative of the CWBP any more. It should not be marked as such in the wiki or whatever anyway. If it was a derivative then I could take it all and re post it on my own site as CC and there would be nothing he could do about it. Which is not ideal for him really.
You just cant have it both ways where we ensure that the maps in the CWBP stay free and then sell them as well. I'm not interested in contributing loads of time into a project that someone else can buy it out and then sell it on my behalf. I want a guarantee that what I make is, and stays, free for everyone.
Is CC an open source license. Yes. If I take copyright code and release it as Gnu then I am breaking the law. GNU or CC or whatever does not necessarily mean that all the sources used were done so legally. I cant take the latest Spiderman film and legally release a CC mashup of it. What your saying is that all the bits that you created in the map are released as CC. It implies but does not guarantee that all the bit of it that you didn't create as also CC or public domain. If you use elements of the image which were themselves CC with the SA (share alike) moniker then you MUST release your work as CC with SA or else you cant use those sub elements legally. So when we use CC with BY (attribution) NC (non commercial) and SA (share alike) it means that nobody can sell the CWBP and that anyone can take your map and make a derived map from it and that this new map you WILL be able to take and make another derived map from it and so on. From Neons map down and all below it, I can take, use, repost and make derivative works from so long as I also give you that right too. Thats an open source license.
If you take Sony or Spiderman as source then you need permission to use it because it is "All rights reserved". Copying of the stuff being one of those rights. So you cant do it. Since CGTextures is saying that they want to keep copyright of their texture images then you cant use them. CGTextures does state under what circumstances you can use their stuff and its pretty liberal including commercial use. But you cant pass on the rights that CGTextures gives to you when you make your map onto anyone else - including in an open source way. Your not the rights holder and in any position to do so. So really, you cant use copyrighted material in CC works in a similar way as mentioned with Gnu. So they give you the right and you alone not you and everyone else down the chain of open source. In the same way you cannot use CC ND (no derivatives) work in your CC (without ND) works.
That's the beauty of open source licenses is that they don't just give you permission. They give you and the chain of derivatives permission which means that its worth putting effort into something where you need a community to build it because from the things created from your work, you have an automatic right to use as well.
If your interested in open source licenses in general then this is a one stop shop: http://www.opensource.org/licenses
06-28-2010, 09:10 PM
So let me get this straight. If I wanted to put my challenge entry from this month in the "finished maps" section I would also need to replace the texture I used from CGTextures because my finished work could be a featured map on Cartographersguild.com and as such must be CC?
06-28-2010, 10:03 PM
I wasn't aware that choice maps had to be CC. Anyone point to a link or clarify ?
06-28-2010, 11:23 PM
I couldn't find anything about needing to be CC.
06-29-2010, 02:32 AM
No, the only licensing detail on the Finished Maps forum is a clause in one of the stickies that states that the CG is granted a limited license to use the map in the Cartographers' Choice gallery should it be selected for that honor.
I'm still not clear on why you claim that CC are open source licenses, Redrobes. They're free, yes, but I don't see anything in there (I did read the CC BY legalese—since that's the most permissive license available, I am assuming that any relevant language would be available there) that says that sources must be available under the same license. The license runs only downstream; everything upstream of the licensed work remains available only under its original licensing terms, even if such license is exclusive to the artist. Nor do the Creative Commons licenses appear in the lists available at opensource.org (although the site itself is licensed under CC).
06-29-2010, 03:17 AM
Sorry, I must have crossed my wires with the CWBP.
06-29-2010, 02:32 PM
Part of the problem is that "open source" is only clearly defined for software. Use in other context is metaphorical, which is neither clear nor precise enough to make good legal text. Perhaps it would be in order to ask CGTextures what they intended and if they consider release of a work including their textures under CC-BY-NC-SA compliant with or in violation of their license? A statement one way or the other from CGTextures would clear things up with no need for speculation.
yes, I was thinking the same thing - they might not have any problems with it - they probably just wanna protect their textures from reselling :)
06-29-2010, 09:15 PM
@Mid: Yes your right, I might have to specify or backtrack a little. If you publish under a CC license and use the SA bit then to do so you would need to have permission from all the sources of image that you used to make up your final that this final including the sources are going to be shared downwards in a CC share alike manner. Therefore, if done legally, the sources must have been given that permission and is therefore open source.
But yes, without SA you are right CC without it is not so different from full copyright - esp CC with ND. So I was referring to the SA bit really but I take your point tho.
I really think that CGTextures will affirm that they will not license it under CC SA even if the texture cannot be extracted as a stand alone image even if, as I am also convinced, that is the intention of the author. The issue is legal mines that he cant be bothered to tread over. I just expect him to point or quote the existing text and link to the FAQ.
I think his site should make it a little clearer about this point tho - it took me months of using them before I realized this.
I mostly make and use my own, but have used some textures by others here and there... I've been leaning on the free for use for private and commercial projects - but I've never thought that me making my maps CC could pose a problem.
06-30-2010, 01:57 PM
Okay, I've gone into the SA legalese now, too. The only difference between that and the more permissive Attribution license is the bit about adaptations requiring the same or a compatible license. Here is the relevant bit of legal code:
3. License Grant. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, Licensor hereby grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright) license to exercise the rights in the Work as stated below:
a. to Reproduce the Work, to incorporate the Work into one or more Collections, and to Reproduce the Work as incorporated in the Collections;
b. to create and Reproduce Adaptations provided that any such Adaptation, including any translation in any medium, takes reasonable steps to clearly label, demarcate or otherwise identify that changes were made to the original Work. For example, a translation could be marked "The original work was translated from English to Spanish," or a modification could indicate "The original work has been modified.";
c. to Distribute and Publicly Perform the Work including as incorporated in Collections; and,
d. to Distribute and Publicly Perform Adaptations.
4. Restrictions. The license granted in Section 3 above is expressly made subject to and limited by the following restrictions:
a. You may Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work only under the terms of this License. You must include a copy of, or the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) for, this License with every copy of the Work You Distribute or Publicly Perform. You may not offer or impose any terms on the Work that restrict the terms of this License or the ability of the recipient of the Work to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the License. You may not sublicense the Work. You must keep intact all notices that refer to this License and to the disclaimer of warranties with every copy of the Work You Distribute or Publicly Perform. When You Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work, You may not impose any effective technological measures on the Work that restrict the ability of a recipient of the Work from You to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the License. This Section 4(a) applies to the Work as incorporated in a Collection, but this does not require the Collection apart from the Work itself to be made subject to the terms of this License. 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. If You create an Adaptation, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Adaptation any credit as required by Section 4(c), as requested.
b. You may Distribute or Publicly Perform an Adaptation only under the terms of: (i) this License; (ii) a later version of this License with the same License Elements as this License; (iii) a Creative Commons jurisdiction license (either this or a later license version) that contains the same License Elements as this License (e.g., Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US)); (iv) a Creative Commons Compatible License. If you license the Adaptation under one of the licenses mentioned in (iv), you must comply with the terms of that license. If you license the Adaptation under the terms of any of the licenses mentioned in (i), (ii) or (iii) (the "Applicable License"), you must comply with the terms of the Applicable License generally and the following provisions: (I) You must include a copy of, or the URI for, the Applicable License with every copy of each Adaptation You Distribute or Publicly Perform; (II) You may not offer or impose any terms on the Adaptation that restrict the terms of the Applicable License or the ability of the recipient of the Adaptation to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the Applicable License; (III) You must keep intact all notices that refer to the Applicable License and to the disclaimer of warranties with every copy of the Work as included in the Adaptation You Distribute or Publicly Perform; (IV) when You Distribute or Publicly Perform the Adaptation, You may not impose any effective technological measures on the Adaptation that restrict the ability of a recipient of the Adaptation from You to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the Applicable License. This Section 4(b) applies to the Adaptation as incorporated in a Collection, but this does not require the Collection apart from the Adaptation itself to be made subject to the terms of the Applicable License.
There is nothing I can find in any Creative Commons license that dictates that anything other than the licensed artwork be made available to end users for the purposes of derivative works. Share Alike only affects derivative work; it has no bearing on the source material. Unless someone can prove otherwise, I think there is no reason to believe that CC is an open source license, and it is therefore not bound by the restriction in the CGTextures license.
To the question of whether "open source" is adequately defined for purposes other that software: 'The “source code” for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. “Object code” means any non-source form of a work.' (The GNU General Public License (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)). If we're talking visual digital artwork instead of software, that would mean the Photoshop file (or Gimp, CC3, Dundjinni, Drawplus, etc) from which the final image (jpeg, png, svg, etc) is exported. The Photoshop file is the "preferred form of the work for making modifications" and the final export is object code, as defined by the GNU. In fact, this works fairly well since a digital image is simply code at its most basic level. Therefore, I don't think that the use of the term open source when applied to digital artwork is metaphorical at all.
With that in mind, it is clear (to me, at any rate) that there is nothing in Creative Commons that compels me to share my Photoshop file with someone who wishes to create an adaptation. Whatever form of the art I choose to distribute is the one that is licensed, and no more. Someone who wishes to make an adaptation must use only the pixels I provided—the license grants no rights to the CGTextures files I used, nor to any brushes, scripts, templates, etc I may have used in the creation of the work.
On a related topic, I wonder if anyone else is watching this controversy going on with ASCAP claiming that CC, the Electronic Freedom Frontier, and related groups are anti-copyright?
I hope that some time down this thread (or actually in the FAQ) someone can explain in common english what all these things mean for us cartographers. What licenses that would be prudent to choose - depending on what you want and what we should be aware of concerning incorporationg textures and elements in our works. Perhaps supplied with an URL list of sites that we can use from without problems :)
Also what we should say/write with our work if needed :)
06-30-2010, 03:49 PM
The common english is available at the Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/) site. I'll parse the above legal code for you, though:
3. This license lets people use your work in the following ways, free of charge:
a. They may copy it. They may bundle it in a collection (like a gallery or anthology). They may copy the collection.
b. As long as they tell people what they did to it, they may change it or modify it.
c. They may give it to whomever they like or display it in public.
d. They may give their adaptation to anyone or display it in public.
4. If someone does any of those things, here are the limits under which they must operate:
a. They don't get any rights not given to them by this license. They must always provide a link or reference about where they got it and who made it. They must include any notice about the license that you included. They can't put additional restrictions on the license—everyone must be free to use it the same way they did.
b. If they make an adaptation, the adaptation must have this same license, or one that is compatible with it. (This is the "share alike" clause)
Answering the questions at the Creative Commons site will cause it to guide you to the license you should use, but for the purposes of disseminating the knowledge, here's a breakdown of what each element does:
Attribution (BY): You must always be credited as the creator of the piece.
No Derivatives (ND): Modifying the work is not permitted.
Non Commercial (NC): The work cannot be used for commercial gain.
Share Alike (SA): Any derivative works have to use the same license as the original did.
SA and ND are incompatible—if derivative works are not allowed, then Share Alike doesn't do anything.
BY is mandatory. Without it, the work will be public domain—no rights reserved.
SA will cause NC to cascade—Since derivative works must use the same license, those adaptations cannot be used commercially, either.
I'd recommend that any map you license should have visible in the image the CC logo(s), the url of the Creative Commons license descriptions: http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/, your name or pseudonym (the licenses do not require the artist's real name, only a "Uniform Resource Identifier," usually the web address where the original lives), a url where you can be reached (here, your own web site, Deviant Art, etc, or your email address) and the date. Additionally, if you have the ability to add metadata, it's a good idea to put the licensing information there, along with your contact information.
If you choose not to license an image, a copyright notice with your name and "All rights reserved" should be visible in the image, and the metadata should also reflect it.
These steps will go a long way toward preventing accidental theft like what was seen at RPGLife.
thank you Midgaardsormr - that's clear speaking ... have some rep for that :)
07-01-2010, 07:34 AM
...there is nothing in Creative Commons that compels me to share my Photoshop file with someone who wishes to create an adaptation. Whatever form of the art I choose to distribute is the one that is licensed, and no more. Someone who wishes to make an adaptation must use only the pixels I provided—the license grants no rights to the CGTextures files I used, nor to any brushes, scripts, templates, etc I may have used in the creation of the work.I believe that is correct. Your licensing the image (pixels) only. But you have to be able to sub license any bit of it that you are using via a license from someone else and I think that is where the problem is with the CGTextures. They are not giving you the ability to sub license it any of their work - just use it. If you created the whole image yourself so you own the right to license it or parts of it are public domain and have no rights or you have permission to sub license the copyright parts in that manner from that copyright holder, or you have specific permission as granted through the SA bit of CC from the copyright parts you used then you can.
07-01-2010, 02:36 PM
Ah, breakthrough! Thanks Redrobes; I finally get what you're saying.
I dug into the CGTextures FAQ, by the way, and he is defining Creative Commons as an open source license:
May I use these textures in my Open Source (Creative Commons, GPL, etc) project?
No. These textures may not be used in Open-Source projects. The licenses are not compatible. Almost all Open-Source licenses allow redistribution of the materials, and redistribution is not allowed for these textures.
I disagree with the definition of CC as open source, as I think I've demonstrated, and this language is not in the license itself, but obviously his intent is to exclude CC licensing, so we should abide by it. That leaves me with the problem of what to do with Mennin's Hallow, since it is not legal for it to remain as-is in the CWBP. (grrr…)
I am going to put some more thought into this. I think it's possible to craft a license similar in effect to CC that still satisfies the CGTextures license. No help for the CWBP, but it might be useful elsewhere.
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