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cc-licenses - Re: [cc-licenses] cc-by-sa and gpl

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Subject: Development of Creative Commons licenses

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  • From: Rob Myers <rob AT>
  • To: adam AT, Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts <cc-licenses AT>
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] cc-by-sa and gpl
  • Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2007 18:36:41 +0100

(I am not CC, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.)

adam hyde wrote:

It would seem the GPL would not be 'compatible' under these terms as the
GPL does not explicitly permit: "the relicensing of derivatives of works
made available under that license under a particular Creative Commons

That is correct.

The gpl does not do this. However, how does the CC-GPL fit into this
picture? :

Its the GPL with a CC the CC-GPL considered to be living
within the CC family of licenses? If so, then the CC-GPL is 'compatible'
and the question is answered.

Ignore CC-GPL for the purpose of this discussion, that is just CC trying to explain the GPL to people. It's a very good idea (CC-FDL anybody?) but can be confusing.

is there anyone that can clarify this?
Just to retour...My specific question is:

Can content under the CC-BY-SA (3.0) be distributed under the GPL? ie.
Is the GPL or 'CC-GPL' a 'similar' or 'compatible' license as per the
license statement :
"you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a
compatible license."
anyone want to make me a happy camper with a categorical yes or no? ;)

Categorically: no.

The GPL is not compatible with BY-SA, and is unlikely to be declared compatible.

See above. ;-)

If you are the original licensor you could dual-license under BY-SA and GPL, but that's a very bad idea.

The reason _why_ this is an interesting question for me is that
documentation about free software is often written in CC BY-SA. If this
material can be then distributed under the GPL then the docs could be
distributed with source code without causing developers extra license

You can distribute BY-SA material with GPL material. The FDL was designed to be applied to documentation distributed with GPL-ed software, and the principle is the same. This is aggregation, and is fine under the GPL.

So a GPL-licensed piece of software with BY-SA documentation should be absolutely fine. Unless it breaks the rules of a particular distro (e.g. Debian).

- Rob.

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