[Clipart] Clipart License

Bryce Harrington bryce at bryceharrington.com
Tue Apr 13 09:40:35 PDT 2004

On Tue, 13 Apr 2004, [iso-8859-1] "Áki G. Karlsson" wrote:
> Hi (sorry about the length of this...)
> I agree that attribution is not really acceptable for clipart, unless it 
> can be "hidden" in the svg/png metadata for example...

It can be hidden in the svg/png, but it takes some effort to do so.
> But isn't it in the spirit of "freedom" in this sense that the artist has 
> an informed choice of different licenses? That is, I think, the chief 
> benefit of the CC licenses. They even provide nifty little icons 
> indicating the different kinds of permission. More importantly, they 
> provide a venue by which it can be "proven" to an extent that the author 
> actually did give his permission, should this be contested.

The idea behind adopting PD is to provide maximum freedom to the user
rather than the artist.  The artist of course already has every freedom
to put out their own work under whatever licenses they wish.  For this
project, though, the feeling is that having *one* acceptable approach
for contribution will give clarity and consistency.

For example, Wikipedia does not allow contributions under more than one
licensing condition.  Our project is in an analogous situation.

(I had initially advocated allowing for multiple licenses, including the
LGPL, but the concensus among the team when we formed the project was
that everything should be Public Domain.)

> And why is PD not a license? It is a fairly good, unambiguously worded 
> usage permission granted by the author... as effective as a letter from 
> the author stating that you can use the work in any way you like. Such a 
> document clearly has legal value, just like a license, and I even think 
> that the CC method has been put to the test and proven valid.

It does seem like a license to me, but it's actually more like a void of
a license.  Essentially, it is giving up your copyright to the work.
Licenses like the GPL require a copyright in order for them to "work".
Something with no copyright (and no license) has no restrictions on how
it can be used.

> Are the software licenses (like GPL and LGPL (or BSD)) even acceptable for 
> artwork?

Yes, these licenses have been used for art before, and there are several
books that have been published under the GPL or containing LGPL or BSD
sections.  There are software-specific verbage in the GPL, but it turns
out that even so, the licenses are still generally valid for a range of
different types of materials, including artwork.

> Does the FSF for example provide the same protection for these 
> kinds of works that they do for software? especially as this project is 
> not, per se, bundled as part of a some software.

The FSF only provides protection for items that they own the copyright
to.  In order to get their protection you have to fill out and send in
legal paperwork to formally transfer your copyright to them.  

> A formal public domain dedication has to be interpreted in this sense,
> as there is no "public domain" in Europe other than for works where
> the droit d'auteur has expired (70 yrs from the death of the author).

Do you have a pointer for more info on this?  

> PS. So this email is not completely wasted ;) I hereby submit this little 
> picture of balaenoptera acutorostrata for the "animals" topic. We wouldn't 
> want to forget the whales, would we?

Cool!  Can you upload it to the Wiki? 


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