Let's say I have a template for writing a certain kind of report (say a Word file that offers instructions and a structure). I now want to avoid that someone commercializes that template, so I'd share it as CC-BY-SA-NC.

However, does that now also apply to the reports created starting from that template? For that use, I would just want an attribution. Is there an easy way to accomplish this? This would seem to be a situation that webpage template designers might find themselves in, but I haven't yet found a clear example ...

1 Answer 1


My gut feeling is you can't get what you want. Assuming that works created from a template are derivatives of that template, you're saying you'll distribute your template CC BY-NC, but with an exception that derivative works are simply under CC BY.

Alice can then take the template, make a significant addition to it, and release that (it, too, being a derivative) under CC BY. Bob can then take the derivative template, remove Alice's changes, and release something that's identical to your CC BY-NC original, but with only a CC BY licence on it.

If, on the other hand, works created from a template are not considered derivatives of it (which I doubt), then you have no control over such works as a result of your copyright in the template, and cannot even insist on attribution.

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