[cc-community] Trying to pinpoint conflicts between CC-BY[-SA] and GPL

Mike Linksvayer ml at creativecommons.org
Mon Dec 19 12:19:05 EST 2011

On Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 9:26 AM, Maciej Pendolski
<beholder0x100 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Here is FSF's stance on the subject (from
> http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html).
> I have found it through http://opengameart.org/content/faq (Q: Aren't
> CC-BY and CC-BY-SA incompatible with the GPL?):

Interesting find. Curiously, the OGA FAQ contradicts itself on
GPL/BY-SA compatibility, first getting it wrong:

"Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
    This license requires you to release the source your entire
project under the same license or one with similar terms, such as the
GNU GPL. If you're trying to sell a game, this is probably something
you want to avoid, as you will be required to distribute the source
code, and your users will be allowed to distribute it as well."

(also getting BY-SA wrong in that it isn't a source-requiring copyleft)

If anyone is involved in the OGA community and wants to try to get
those things corrected, please do. :)

> "Non-functional Data
> Data that isn't functional, that doesn't do a practical job, is more
> of an adornment to the system's software than a part of it. Thus, we
> don't insist on the free license criteria for non-functional data. It
> can be included in a free system distribution as long as its license
> gives you permission to copy and redistribute, both for commercial and
> non-commercial purposes. For example, some game engines released under
> the GNU GPL have accompanying game information—a fictional world map,
> game graphics, and so on—released under such a verbatim-distribution
> license. This kind of data can be part of a free system distribution,
> even though its license does not qualify as free, because it is
> non-functional."

I assume this implies "data ... that doesn't do a practical job"
(seems like a thorny issue to me, but anyway) loaded by GPL software
does not need to be under compatible terms, which is certainly what I
would've expected. However it doesn't directly address this issue, the
quote being from guidelines on what is permissible in a free

Out of curiosity, what is Debian's policy on such data? I took a quick
look at http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ and
http://wiki.debian.org/Games and didn't immediately see anything
relevant, but I almost certainly just missed it.


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