The Creative Commons license is now compatible with the GPL
The Creative Commons license and the GPL have not always played too nicely together, as much to do with semantics as anything else. Now they do, but there are some things to consider, if you are trying to bundle a CC licensed library (or more likely, images!) inside your GPL licensed code. From Otto Wood:
Back in February, the Creative Commons organization began taking steps to introduce compatibility between their licenses and the GPL. At that time, we took notice and started discussing the problems we’ve had with CC licenses in the directory in the past.
Part of the problem is that the Creative Commons licenses are so fragmented. It’s very much a choose-your-own adventure landscape for CC licenses, and many people don’t understand licensing very well in the first place (it can be confusing, I admit).
Since we require everything in our directory to be GPL Compatible, then it’s something we have to constantly scan for when even an accidental violation occurs.
Then, things became even more interesting in March, when gnu.org silently changed their compatibility page to state that CC-BY 4.0 was now considered compatible with all versions of the GPL. So, at that time, we started trying to ignore that particular case. It isn’t easy, because a lot of CC licensed code is licensed under version 3.0 of their licenses, which is not GPL Compatible. And the issue of CC-BY-SA was still very much up in the air.
However, last month, Creative Commons finally stepped up. CC-BY-SA 4.0 is now compatible with the GPLv3.
Accordingly, you can now use CC-BY 4.0 and CC-BY-SA 4.0 licensed code or images or anything else in the WordPress.org plugin and theme directories.
A few points of note:
- Only version 4.0 is acceptable. Check before using third party code which may still be licensed using 3.0.
- Only the Attribution (BY) and Share-Alike (SA) clauses are acceptable. The No-Derivs (ND) and Non-Commercial (NC) clauses are definitely not GPL-Compatible. Code or images using them cannot be used.
- If the code you’re wanting to use has the Share-Alike (SA) clause, then it is only compatible with the GPLv3, not GPLv2. This means your plugin and all the other code in it must be licensed under the GPLv3. The GPLv2 is not compatible with the GPLv3.
Otto has a few more notes on the post, but this makes a previously annoying issue workable.