Question about Creative Commons licenses

This is probably the wrong section, but I’m not sure where else to put it. Please move it if appropriate.

My question is simple: If I get a prop that is (for example) CC-BY, that means that I have to give credit if I make a derivative work. But does making a render that includes that prop count as a derivative work?

In other words, do I have to give credit for every Creative Commons Attribution prop I use in any render, or does that only apply if I release a blend file (or similar) that contains the prop, or things derived from it?

This is a good question and a shame no one has given a solid answer.

I’m no expert but my thoughts on this for what it’s worth…

If you’re not planning to profit from your project or the object is insignificant in the background, has been reasonably modified or is generically available I doubt the owner would be aware of its use or even care. If it is reasonably prominent you probably SHOULD but it can be a gray area whether you MUST

If you are planning to make a reasonable profit from the project (for example a movie) I think you SHOULD give attribution regardless how prominent a part it plays even though legally it may or may not be required.

There is a lot of variables and gray area with what is legally and morally right. It is only illegal if you get caught. But I think most artists would appreciate some attribution or recognition where it is reasonable to do so

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I prefer a more literal interpretation -


This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

That suggests if you don’t credit the original creator, you don’t have permission to use it.

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So if I understand correctly, if I am (real example) making a comic composed of renders, I still have to give credit and a link back to the source even (say) for the coffee cup on the shelf in the background, or the wastebasket on the floor in the corner of a few panels?

I’m really doing my best to both take advantage of open culture and play by the rules, but this does seem to get kind of onerous.

This is why I release all of my assets CC-0

Basically, you can’t claim you OWN the full rights if you’re exposing the (asset) for personal or commercial purposes.
The moment you “assume” or “claim” you’re doing business/profit/exposition as OF YOUR OWN, you’re in violation of the licence because SOMEONE ELSE created it for you to derivate (as they stated it on the CC licence).

All of this is done to avoid conflict with selling the original author’s right to negotiate the release/promo/attribution to third parties or even cease the product attribution -in special cases-

The idea to share the right to “distribute and transform” a given work, is based on evolution of the original work. Hence we love “community thought”.

Yeah, it’s all a philosophy…

The licence concerns the asset’s use, not how much screen space it takes up.

Frankly, you’re not trying very hard if giving due credit is too much trouble. These people are making assets for you for free. If you’re not going to pay them, at least credit them.

It is a bit of trouble if between a ten panels of a comic you have a couple dozen small assets in the background, each of which needs a credit. I’m not talking about the case of taking one asset and featuring it a centerpiece, I’m talking about something like filling a room with clutter and background items.

This is the sort of thing I’m talking about. Sorry for the crappy image; it’s quite old.
[removed image because there’s no need for it anymore]

I made the characters, and the cello, and the reel-to-reel player, the microphone stand, the structure of the room… but I didn’t make the chair. Or the amp the tape deck is sitting on. Or the black piano on the far left.

The sort of situation I’m talking about is something like this. Does this constitute a “derivative work” of the chair, for example?

I’m not saying I’m not willing to give credit if it is. I was just saying it’s kind of a pain to release an image like this with a list of asset credits, and it’s not as if I can watermark it with half a dozen license notices without ruining the (admittedly not very good) picture.

The licence doesn’t state where the credit should be, just that there needs to be one.

That is a helpful clarification then. Thank you.

Re watermaking: When asking this question on reddit, one user claimed that I should be crediting via watermark, which seemed kind of absurd. I had a brain-fart and incorrectly remembered that comment as being on this thread here, instead of reddit. My bad.

Thanks for the clarification. A good faith attempt to credit all assets used in text accompanying the work is what I’ve already been doing, so I shall keep doing it. It’s a pain, but if that’s the right thing to do, then I’ll do it.

Currently I have been crediting in the form of:

"Widget" by SomeBlenderUser CC-BY-NC

Is this good enough? Is including the URL unnecessary?

As a separate statement: I was grumbling about crediting every little thing that makes it anywhere into a picture… but I was basically just whining about it, not saying I won’t do it.

And me whining like that doesn’t really add anything useful to a conversation like this, so I’m sorry about that. Thanks for patiently answering me anyway.

I think that would be fine.
Personally, I would always try to include a url as it directs traffic to the artist, raising their profile, and hopefully more people would be able to give them money.

Good point.

I have a similar question, hope it’s okay to tack it on here:

Last year I volunteered to do some advertising images for a local non-profit, using (in part) CC-BY assets from BlendSwap. I carefully credited these (including urls) in the readme.txt I included in the zipfile I emailed the svg and png files in, and mentioned the readme.txt file in the email.

Is the company required to credit the CC-BY assets when using the images I made for them, or does me informing them fulfil the obligation?

(I realize this is probably an “ask a lawyer” question – I’m asking for forumites’ opinions on the ethics, not something legally binding.)