[Clipart] Clipart License

"Áki G. Karlsson" aki at akademia.is
Tue Apr 13 10:23:04 PDT 2004


>> 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.

Some standard text to copy/paste and a HOWTO could be enough. The good 
thing is that such comments tend to stick to the images once they've been 
placed there, precisely because of this "effort".

> 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.

Point taken :) To be able to bundle the clipart with different systems one 
needs to make sure that the images can be used in such a way, but one way 
would be to release different packages with different licenses and warning 
potential users of copyright issues. The CC icons seem to me ideal for 
this kind of use - but that is just an idea... and maybe a bad one.

>> 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).

The best pointer is the Berne convention 
(http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/overview.html), which has been 
more or less simply translated and ratified as individual countries' 
copyright/authors' law. The right of honor is inalienable as it is 
interpreted as deriving from some articles in the human rights convention 
(personal dignity for example). The rest of the droit d'auteur (the 
exclusive rights) are of course transferable. The droit d'auteur is less 
amenable towards free software than a fully transferable copyright, but it 
tries to establish a balance between the interest of the individual author 
and the social interest in the circulation of the work. European Courts 
tend to lean to one side or the other in practice. Northern European 
courts lean towards interpreting the droit d'auteur as "property" whereas 
Southern European courts tend to favor the idea of common interest.

However, this should not create any kind of concern, as a public domain 
dedication on the part of the author would AFAIK in all cases be 
interpreted as a legally valid act of transferring the exclusive rights to 
"anyone at any time". There is really no reason to lose one's mind amidst 
these muddy legal issues, but all the more reason to lean on an 
organization like CC which is based on research, as a kind of guarantee.

There was some discussion previously on the debian lists (random link to 

One has to have faith, but I sometimes envy the way the concept of "public 
domain" has of making things less complicated for most of the world...

Best regards



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