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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: "Prodromos Tsiavos" <p.tsiavos AT>
  • To: "Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts" <cc-licenses AT>, <adam AT>
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] cc-by-sa and gpl
  • Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2007 20:42:26 +0300

I would agree with Rob on dissuading you from using dual licensing, as it would only cause the same (and perhaps even more complicated problems) in the second generation of derivative works.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Rob Myers" <rob AT>
To: <adam AT>; "Discussion on the Creative Commons license drafts" <cc-licenses AT>
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2007 8:36 PM
Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] cc-by-sa and gpl

(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

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.

- Rob.
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