License compatibility.

wiki_tomos wiki_tomos at
Mon Apr 4 01:35:44 EDT 2005

(Please be aware that I am not a lawyer or legal expert, and my opinions are 
personal opinions.)

Hi. I think the answer is no. But I think it is not as bad or inconvenient as you 
might think. 

1) Can I take a CC-by'd work and change its license to CC-by for a different jurisdiction?

No, I am afraid. 

I checked CC-by Canada and CC-by generic, and both seem to say that 
when you - 
(i) simply distribute or reproduce the work, you cannot change the license. 
(ii) create derivative work and distribute it, you are free to license it 
in any way for the part you have done, but the original work remains under 
the same license. You have to clearly disclose that. 

These two types of license restrictions are stated in 4a & 4b of CC-by Canada and CC-by generic . (See also section 8b of the license).

2) So all CC licenses are simply incompatible? 

Some CC licenses are compatible. CC-by-sa 2.0 of many (if not all) jurisdictions 
allow derivative works to be released under another CC-by-sa license. More specifically, 
you can take a work licensed under CC-by-sa generic, create a derivative work of it, 
and release it under CC-by-sa 2.0 France or CC-by-sa 2.0 Canada, etc. 

This is stated in the 4b of the CC-by-sa 2.0 generic.

Note that you cannot do the same with CC-by-sa 1.0 generic. 4b of the CC-by-sa 1.0 generic 
(which is written and released when no CC-by-sa Japan and other jurisdictions' licenses 
did not exist yet) says the derivative works have to be under the exact same license terms. 

3) Can I use CC-by'd work to create a derivative work, and release it under CC-by-sa? 
If so, what happens to the work?

I think the answer is yes. Let's take an example of an Blog entry originally released under the 
CC-by 2.0 generic, written in English. Now a person wants to translate the article into French 
and distribute under CC-by-sa 2.0 France. 

The actions - translating the text, distributing the translated text, and releasing CC-by-sa 
do not go against license restrictions specified in 4b. 

However, only a part of the resulting work (a blog entry translated into French) is under 
CC-by-sa French in this case. The act of translation gives the translator some copyrights in 
the texts (such as choice of words and expressions), but the original English text is still 
copyrighted by the original blogger. The original work is still available under CC-by 2.0 

Does this cause any inconvenience? I imagine not much, but I would be interested to know if any 
inconvenience exists. 

Best wishes


----- Original Message -----
From: Daniel Carrera <dcarrera at>
To: cc-licenses at
Sent: Sat, 2 Apr 2005 17:06:18 -0500
Subject: Re: License compatibility.

>I wonder if the CC licenses are compatible accross different languages.
>For example, can I take something in the English BY license:
>And release it under the French BY license? :
>And from here I could hope over to French BY-SA :
>Is that right?
>I figure it must be. Otherwise the exercise of multiple language licenses 
>would seem kind of pointless. But I would like to ask. There is someone who 
>is interested in taking the user guide we're writing (under English BY), 
>translate it to French, and release it under French BY-SA.
>Thank you for your help.
>Daniel Carrera          | I don't want it perfect,
>Join OOoAuthors today!  | I want it Tuesday.
>   | 
>cc-licenses mailing list
>cc-licenses at

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