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[resolved] Creative Commons verses GPL (18 posts)

  1. saintehlers
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    OK, I want to ask what makes the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (CC-BY-SA) incompatible with the GPL.

    This page states that CC-BY-SA is incompatible with the GPL when used for software.

    HOWEVER, the scenario is CC-BY-SA licensed images used in a GPL theme.

    Under CC-BY-SA, the images can be reused and altered so long as attribution remains. It permits re-distribution of altered or unaltered work, but does not enforce the re-distribution.

    Isn't this what the GPL does? If GPL isn't recommended for non-software (It CAN be used, but there's a lot of ambiguity about what "source code" means when it comes to, say, images), then why not use CC-BY-SA for non-software elements of a theme?

    This article even talks about how the images (and even the CSS) are independent objects, even when distributed as part of the theme.

    So what is it that makes Creative Commons incompatible with GPL in this scenario?

  2. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#GPLCompatibleLicenses

    If it ain't listed in there, it ain't GPL.

  3. Ah. You can use CC for images and CSS. You cannot use it for code.

    CC isn't a code license, and JS is code (which is usually where this shows up). They can co-exist, but they're not interchangeable.

  4. saintehlers
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    This post will probably sound like I'm irritated. I'm sorry if that's so.

    1) Your post doesn't answer my question. At all. I know that many WordPress users think that they aren't compatible. That's not what I wanted to know. I'm not sure that, even on the theme-reviewers mail list, I've seen anything that definitively says that CC is against WordPress hosting policy.

    2) From the page you linked: "We try to list the most commonly encountered free software license on this page, but cannot list them all" That is not a comprehensive list. Nor is it intended to be so. Nor does it state that CC is incompatible with GPL except as a license. My scenario above does not propose licensing any software with a CC license. Note also that my original post did link to that same page you linked to. This was not new information.

    3) It may very well be WordPress's policy not to host any themes that have images with a CC license. However, that does not mean that they are incompatible. In fact, this article (which is on wordpress.org and which I linked to in my original post) indicates specifically that CC licensed images can be compatibly used in GPL software.

    So my question, which was conveniently set apart at the end of my post, still stands.

    And an additional question, who is right, Ipstenu or Esmi? Can CC licensed images be used in WordPress.org hosted themes or not?

  5. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Is this all about a theme that was submitted to the Theme Repository but was rejected because of licensing issues?

  6. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    http://wordpress.org/support/topic/background-image-was-confusing?replies=2

    OK - you've already been told that this is NOT the right place to raise these issues. If you have a problem with the Theme Review Team's finding, then you need to raise it with the Team.

  7. Emil Uzelac
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Since this question is related to the ticket submitted to trac, no, you cannot use CC for images or for codes, the only CC that you can use (which isn't really a license) is http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ nothing else is GPL-Compatible.

    P.S. Answering here since list and the ticket itself didn't bring much attention.

    Thanks,
    Emil

    Quick Update: @saintehlers please let's continue this directly in the ticket, there's one extra reviewer available and if you have more questions, they will be answered there.

  8. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 2 years ago #

    According to GNU, CC-BY-SA is not GPL-compatible:

    This is a copyleft free license that is good for artistic and entertainment works, and educational works. Please don't use it for software or documentation, since it is incompatible with the GNU GPL and with the GNU FDL.

    I could link many other sources that discuss the GPL-incompatibility of all CC licenses, but this should be sufficient.

  9. saintehlers
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Is this all about a theme that was submitted to the Theme Repository but was rejected because of licensing issues?

    No, it isn't. It was inspired by that, but I'm not trying to get anything done on the ticket because of that. I'm trying to understand the policy itself. The only thing I'm trying to do is understand.

    OK - you've already been told that this is NOT the right place to raise these issues. If you have a problem with the Theme Review Team's finding, then you need to raise it with the Team.

    Right. I'll remember that when I have an issue with my theme I want to discuss

    Since this question is related to the ticket submitted to trac

    It's not about the ticket. I know what I need to do and I'm not trying to change that. I'm trying to understand the policy and why WordPress thinks this way.

    According to GNU, CC-BY-SA is not GPL-compatible:

    This is a copyleft free license that is good for artistic and entertainment works, and educational works. Please don't use it for software or documentation, since it is incompatible with the GNU GPL and with the GNU FDL.

    I could link many other sources that discuss the GPL-incompatibility of all CC licenses, but this should be sufficient.

    Please link the other sources or at least summarize the reasoning presented in them. Because I'm not asking if WordPress.org thinks they're incompatible. And, if you read my earlier post, that quote is not sufficient. That quote states Please don't use it for software or documentation. Images within the larger works are not software or documentation, and I have pointed at reasoning from legal experts consulted by WordPress that indicates they are. Given that, what is the reasoning?

    This is a topic I have researched, and I am trying to continue to research. I want to know what makes CC-BY-SA incompatible with GPL in the context I described above. No one, in the mailing list or here has even approached that issue, other than Ipstenu, who asserts that they are not incompatible in that context, which makes the question of "why" moot.

    Let me repeat, I'm not talking about if. Obviously, the WordPress developer community thinks that it is. I'm not asking that. And I'm not asking for a change for my ticket. I'm asking for the why so I can understand. I'm not hoping WP will change. I'm not trying to convince you anyone is wrong.

  10. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    what makes CC-BY-SA incompatible with GPL

    Surely that is a question that you should direct to the Free Software Foundation?

  11. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Just FY: Creative Commons themselves freely claim that only CC0 (public domain) is compatible with GPL.

    One of the main reasons that CC-BY-SA is not GPL-compatible is that it does not require transference of source.

    Beyond that, the reasons are in the technical legal differences between the licenses.

  12. saintehlers
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    forgive me for assuming that because the WordPress dev community has expressed an opinion on an issue that there would be a reason for that opinion.

  13. saintehlers
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Chip: once again, that statement applies to software. It doesn't address the situation I described.

  14. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Chip: once again, that statement applies to software. It doesn't address the situation I described.

    Okay: how is CC-BY "attribution" being compelled for these images?

  15. Chip Bennett
    Theme Review Admin
    Posted 2 years ago #

    forgive me for assuming that because the WordPress dev community has expressed an opinion on an issue that there would be a reason for that opinion.

    I'm doing my best to point you in the right direction, but please understand: this is a moot issue for most of us. Official WPORG policy requires that all WPORG-hosted code must be 100% GPL-compatible. The vast majority of us have debated license issues ad nauseum in the past, and have no desire to get into such debates again.

    If your question is in the context of WPORG-hosted code: CC-BY-SA is not GPL-compatible, and therefore not appropriate.

    If your question is not in the context of WPORG-hosted code, then I refer you back to @esmi's suggestion above, to ask FSF/GNU directly.

  16. saintehlers
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    The vast majority of us have debated license issues ad nauseum in the past, and have no desire to get into such debates again.

    I'd prefer an upfront statement of "we don't really debate that anymore" than the posts that appear to blow off my question without understanding it. I've had a long series of very disappointing contacts with the WP dev community. On the whole, most of my questions have not been acknowledged, and I'm kind of soured on it as a whole.

    Okay: how is CC-BY "attribution" being compelled for these images?

    Assuming the images were used in software/web pages, an appropriate place would be in the code comments. If used in some non-digital format, I can't think of anyway to do it other than on the final product -- though in something like a book or magazine there are acknowledgement or front-matter areas where it could unobtrusively be placed.

    From the question, should I infer that the issue is the means by which attribution is enforced? I can see that a front facing link could cause no small amount of consternation, given the other Theme Review requirements about authorship documentation.

    If that assumption is correct, then legally the 2 licenses would not be incompatible (legally speaking, and only given this particular set of circumstances).

    Just to cover my backside, and to reiterate my position, even if anyone agrees that this logic is correct, that doesn't have any bearing whatsoever on WPORG policy. (Especially since if I've inferred correctly, I can see that being a beast to try and get reviewers to apply correctly.)

  17. GPL/License/copyright issues and 'the rules of the WP forum' are two different things. We don't debate them because the decision is this: Only GPLv2 (or later) compatible themes and plugins may be hosted on WordPress.org

    You asked if they were incompatible. They're are. That doesn't mean you can't use them together. Which is why I say yes and no ;)

    Can I make a GPLv2 compatible theme and include images that are CC (or any other non-GPL license) licensed? Yes. There's precedence for dual licensing like that (sorry to remind everyone of that mess).

    Can I do that and host the theme or plugin here? No. We don't permit it. Everything you check in here has to be GPL compatible, all across the board, no exceptions.

    What question is left?

  18. Samuel Wood (Otto)
    Tech Ninja
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I figured I'd go ahead and give an exact answer to this, despite all the talk-talk above about it.

    The CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported license is incompatible with the GPL for one simple and specific reason.

    "You may not sublicense the Work."

    Any given "work" rests under a license. The license is your terms by which the work-as-a-whole may be used/distributed/etc.

    In our repository, we require that the license for the work-as-a-whole be compatible with the GPL. This includes *everything* in the theme. CSS, images, everything. The whole ZIP of the theme must be GPL-compatible, and by extension, everything in there must be GPL-compatible. This is *our* restriction, we want it this way. WordPress itself is free-as-in-speech and we want to ensure that everything hosted else here on WordPress.org is just as free, to everybody, forever.

    So, because CC-BY-SA cannot be sublicensed, then that means it cannot be distributed in a work under the terms of the GPL. So it cannot be included in a GPL-compatible work-as-a-whole. So we don't allow it here. This is actually for your protection, as an author. If you were to include CC-BY-SA images in your theme, and then say your theme is distributed under the terms of the GPL, then *you* are actually breaking *their* license. And because we're hosting it, then so are we, by accident. Now, it's not likely to cause any stir or ruckus or anything, but if we want people to respect our licensing conditions, then it's only fair that we respect everybody else's licensing conditions as well. Therefore our rules about GPL-compatibility are hard, fast, and unbreakable, period. Doesn't matter how "free" you think the license is, if it's not GPL-compatible, then it can not be on this site.

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