View Full Version : Favourite Image License?

10-16-2008, 11:25 AM
I think one of the sad things about the internet is the orphaned future of some creations.

It is human nature to value what we do and invent - everyone likes to think their doodle will be the next Mickey Mouse - but very often our works are sparks of brilliance that fade as the messages get old and we do other things.

One really good answer to this is to publicly license your work as you create it so that others can have obvious terms to reuse it and have it shine again in another form. There are various licenses and as soon as I use one I wonder if it will be the popular one. Will it attract others to use and reuse the work.

Here's a list of licenses I'm aware of. I wondered if there were any I'm missing and among them what people like.

1) Public Domain - No strings attached
2) Creative Commons - Selective strings, typically no commercial use.
3) Creative Commons 'Share and Share Alike' -?
4) Gnu Document License - Similar to CC above
5) Gnu Public License - Mostly for computer code. Very widespread in its dominant area. Historic.
6) Artistic License - ?


And of course

7) Copyright @ - This maintains whatever rights the author actually has in the real world. (The real power of those rights is a different argument.) If you use it you better leave full contact information for yourself with the work or somewhere prominent. It is the most conservative but the most prone to burying your work - people will shy away from using something if they can't or don't want to talk to you.
All of the above licenses rely on copyright to 'authorize' the work.

Anyone have others to add to the list.

10-17-2008, 07:55 AM
I think you have missed out a little detail here. All works that you create are always copyright. You can disclaim copyright and make them public domain in which case anyone can do whatever they like with it. Anything in between is still copyrighted but licenced for certain usage. If you licence something for creative commons (CC) then you still are the copyright holder and can licence that work in another format too which may be less or more restrictive than the CC. Then a user can choose which licence he wants to abide by out of the options that you have given. What a CC or GPL licence says is that although the work is copyright you expressly allow certain use with certain strings attached depending on the wording.

So why no go public domain ? Well once you disclaim copyright and anyone can do anything then it is often the case that the image is put on web sites which say that the web site is copyright. Ok thats not an issue but then time goes by and eventually when the only copy you can get is from copyright sources then there have been cases where its hard to prove that the originals copyright has indeed been disclaimed and then basically the artwork becomes hijacked.

By using a licence the user of the work on a website should honor the licence terms and put up the CC banner or whatever otherwise they risk being whacked for non compliance.

The theory is that the web site owner should be liable to prove copyright for all the stuff on it but in practise if the web site is a big corp (like Disney etc al) then it basically means that you have prove the public domain-ness of the image before using it. Even with very very obvious cases of copyright expiry the situation has become so nonsensical that the public domain stuff leaves users of it exposed to infringement cases.

10-17-2008, 09:48 PM
My apologies if I was unclear. I left Standard Copyright for last because it was the defacto starting point for all work.

All of the above licenses rely on copyright to 'authorize' the work.

An author remaining in the loop is a great thing. Too often though the post is hard to connect with an actual person - hence the reason to have your real name somewhere connected with the work.

Clear licenses are like good fences making good neighbors - the let people know boundaries and plans. I'm just putting this out to see what other people think.


10-18-2008, 08:20 AM
Sorry Sigurd, I missed that then. I think its good to know what other people think too. Its a very important but much overlooked aspect.

Without explicit consent I basically don't use an image or art and I usually cant be bothered to ask if its not stated. I like what kimmo has been doing and what I try to do and put the CC licence icon on the actual image itself. That way it takes effort to remove it so the majority of people just rip and repost verbatim - which is great. If you put a text line under the image people need extra effort to put that in to the repost and it does not happen often. In that way we all know we can use it without fear of non compliance.

So to answer the actual original question - I use CC type with NC-SA-BY limitations which ought to be enough for any GM to use it in their game or post to a website or wiki etc.