[cc-licenses] WG: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 used in a commercial software
hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Sun Mar 18 20:21:29 EDT 2007
> Has really nobody answers to my questions?
> You would all do me favour replying to this message!
The short answer is: "hire a lawyer" and/or "ask the artist".
> I've a question relating to http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/,
> which is used by the Tango Icon Library
> If I got it right, it should be OK, if I change icons.
So far so good.
> But would it be allowed to use these changed icons within a toolbar of a
> commercial software?
Questionable. The question is whether the copyleft is invoked by this.
IMHO, it is, but IANAL. There is precedent for the contrary opinion,
which is the ability to use images alongside alternately-licensed text
in an HTML page. Also, it's legal to use free "content" in a proprietary
"program". But icons are an integral part of the program's interface.
I think the artist would have a strong case against you if they
didn't like what you were doing.
In practice, if the program were GPL, the author probably would not
have any problem with it. With a proprietary program, though, I could
easily see them getting upset (some people are upset about the HTML
Also, nitpick: don't say "commercial" software in this case. Whether the
software is "commercial" or not is irrelevant. It's the choice of a
conflicting "proprietary" or "non-free" license that creates the problem
(although in this case, even a "free" license like GPL might cause a
technical conflict -- though perhaps not a practical one).
Note also: this could depend on the technical structure of your program.
If the program is "skinnable" -- i.e. the icons are maintained
separately from the program, and only combined at runtime, so that it
is simple to replace them with an alternate set, then you have a much
stronger case that the icons are a separate "content" package which is
merely delivered in parallel to the program.
OTOH, if the images are embedded as datablocks within the compiled
executable, then you are almost certainly in violation.
> Would it be enough, if I place a license file in the same folder as the icon
> Is it allowed, that the software uses a completely different license model
> and that only the changed icons are published with the same CC-license?
So, you can either contact the artist and get explicit permission, which
will render the issue moot (if they are okay with it). OR, you can hire
a lawyer to give you an official legal opinion (but you could still get
I personally would play it safe in this case.
Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com
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