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Thread: Creative Commons licensing questions

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Default Creative Commons licensing questions

    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.
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      Jaxilon is offline
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    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.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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      Redrobes is offline
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    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 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

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      Jaxilon is offline
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    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?
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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      Redrobes is offline
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    I wasn't aware that choice maps had to be CC. Anyone point to a link or clarify ?

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      Ascension is offline
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    I couldn't find anything about needing to be CC.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    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).
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
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      Jaxilon is offline
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    Sorry, I must have crossed my wires with the CWBP.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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      rdanhenry is offline
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    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.

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      tilt is offline
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    yes, I was thinking the same thing - they might not have any problems with it - they probably just wanna protect their textures from reselling
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