[cc-licenses] Share-Alike with images

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Sun Feb 4 21:01:59 EST 2007

The Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike license currently states:

"For the avoidance of doubt, where the Work is a musical composition
or sound recording, the synchronization of the Work in timed-relation
with a moving image ('synching') will be considered a Derivative Work
for the purpose of this License."

This is cool and helps to clarify copyleft in the context of music.
What about the case where a photo is used in a newspaper or
encyclopedia article? Like a musical piece in a movie, there is a
clear semantic relationship between the two; one is directly enriched
in its meaning by the other.

I think the license is currently ambiguous about such uses. However, I
think it would be clearly in line with the copyleft philosophy to
demand free licensing of the combined whole in such a case (not in the
case of mere aggregation within e.g. a collection of photos where
there's no semantic relationship between them). In my discussions with
photographers, I've found that many use NC licenses because they worry
about commercial exploitation of their works. If we could clarify
copyleft in the context of images, many of these fears could be

The simple fact is that a photo by itself is not likely to be modified
much, especially if it's of very high quality to begin with. That's
why I think it's important that we establish a clear and unambiguous
reciprocity when images are used in larger works. Perhaps the
movie-specific phrase in the current SA license text could be

"For the avoidance of doubt, where the Work is semantically combined
with another (a film with time-synchronized music, an article with
pictures, and so on), the combined Work will be considered a
Derivative Work for the purpose of this license."

I don't think the "Collective Work" portion would need to be modified,
as it already speaks of "separate and independent" works, which would
be clarified by a phrase like the above.
Peace & Love,

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