Proposal:A new strict copyleft licence for photographers

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During the relicensing discussion a number of Photographers expressed some disquiet that under the CC-BY-SA license their photograph could be put in a book with someone elses text and sold and the license would not require the text to be released under a Free license.

This was adressed by pointing out that photos contributed to Wikipedia Commons could be licensed under the GFDL only and that conditions of that license were such that no one could tell what reuse was legal.

This seems legally dubious. Surely there is a better way.


Wikimedia works with another organisation (Creative Commons perhaps or the Free Art License) to develop a new strict copyleft license. Art works under this license could be aggregated with works under other free culture licenses but if you want to distribute the art work with content which is not freely licensed then you would have to pay the creator of the art work for his permission.


To allow photographs and similar freely licensed works to be freely distributed and even sold as part of marginally commercial uses but still allow the copyright holder to benefit if the picture is used in a mass produced commercial work.

Key Questions

While there was quite a lot of talk about this it is not clear how many photographers and other artists would, in practice, be motivated by such a license to contribute their work who would not contrbute content otherwise.

As the CC-BY-SA license would still be preferred by Wikimedia (as this matches the license for our text) we would need to be careful that the new license did not become branded as the Wikimedia license.

The Open Software Definition specifically requires that licenses must allow aggregation with non-free works. The Free software definition doesn't have such a restriction.

Potential Costs

Lawyers time.

Time spent liaising with potential partners.


The Free Art License Section 4 would have to be rewritten.

Open Source Definition See section 3.

Community Discussion

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