What is the license of following screenshot of StreetComplete? In this case only image licenses are relevant, some CC-BY-SA 3.0 and some CC-BY-SA 4.0 and some less problematic.

But how the entire screeshoot should be licensed and attributed? List of licenses for each image segment?

enter image description here

  1. memorial_type_statue.jpg CC-BY-SA 4.0 Rabax63 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Garibaldi_Monument.jpg
  2. memorial_type_bust.jpg CC0 Jebulon https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aristotelis_Valaoritis_bust_National_Garden_Athens,_Greece.jpg
  3. memorial_type_plaque.jpg Public Domain Geotek https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bleaklow_Plaque.jpg
  4. memorial_type_war_memorial.jpg Public Domain Stanfordsiver https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Women_of_World_War_II.jpg
  5. memorial_type_stone.jpg Public Domain Ola / Ojp https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Memorial_stone_of_battle_of_Liljendal.18080224.ojp.JPG
  6. memorial_type_obelisk.jpg CC-BY-SA 4.0 Leserättin https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KatCC-BY-SAharina-Denkmal_(2).jpg
  7. memorial_type_stele_wooden.jpg CC-BY-SA 3.0 Assenmacher https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Infostele_Chronik_der_Mauer_mit_Adolph_Philipp.JPG
  8. memorial_type_stele_stone.jpg CC-BY-SA 4.0 Alta Falisa https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:18_June_1815_%E2%80%93_Waterloo_%E2%80%93_27th_(Inniskilling)_Regiment_of_Foot,_stele.jpg modified by Matija Nalis to remove wreath
  9. memorial_type_sculpture.jpg CC-BY-SA 4.0 Adrian Tync https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Katowice_alpinists_monument.jpg

2 Answers 2


Overhauled answer: I don't think anybody knows for sure, though I am indebted to all those who have offered intelligent and insightful commentary.

The issue seems to me to hinge on whether the combination of several images into a single image makes a derivative work, or simply a collection of original works. This distinction is important because:

  • if it's simply a collection, all the elements can be distributed under their existing licences. Moreover, they must be so distributed, because since both CC BY-SA 3 and CC BY-SA 4 unmodified content must remain under its original licence there is no one licence that can cover all these works, while

  • if it's a derivative work, you can uprate the modified CC BY-SA 3 content to CC BY-SA 4, and publish the single resulting work under CC BY-SA 4.

What it doesn't hinge on is that you've made an image, rather than a printed item. It also doesn't hinge on the time you put into selecting those images; your decision doesn't impart creative expression to your selection any more than spending ten hours looking for your preferred timsort implementation counts as input into the code.

The arguments in favour of derivative work are ably made by my colleague in his answer, and the comments thereon.

The arguments in favour of simple collection include Drauglis, and an analysis that suggests simple cropping doesn't constitute protectable input. But I also note that the judgement in Drauglis noted that the CC work was used unmodified, which may limit its application here.

Where does that leave you? The preponderance of the argument leans towards derivative work, thus enabling a single licence, but it's not a slam-dunk. However, I note that even in the case of a derivative work there is no bar on using the existing licences in all cases.

So if you want simplicity and are prepared to take some risk, license your resulting image under CC BY-SA 4. If you want no risk, license the constituent images under their original licences.

  • 1
    I find it difficult to work with a single file (this "screenshot") having multiple licenses for different parts. "the top-left 400 pixels are under CC-BY-SA 4.0 license, while top-center 400 pixels are under CC0 license and the bottom-left 400 pixels are under CC-BY-SA 3.0 license, ...". The combination and each of the 9 images likely are not the originals but derived works, with modifications in resolution, aspect ratio, cropping, color depth, and not to forget the added captions. A nice article is here: thepequodblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/… Aug 16, 2022 at 11:54
  • @Martin_in_AUT I hear you, but I thought about the sort of changes that would be being made to the images in order to computationally fit them into the 9x9 array above, and they all seemed to me to be purely mechanical and lacking in any protectable creative expression, and thus still not creating a derivative work. If the OP were to have sat down with a bunch of images and hand-cropped each, perhaps choosing the crop area in each case to bring out selected features, I could be persuaded there was protectable expression there. But just feeding images to an algorithm? I can't see it.
    – MadHatter
    Aug 16, 2022 at 12:03
  • The article you link (which is very interesting, and for which I am grateful) seems to agree: the cropping of Vision of a Knight only creates (in the opinion of the author) a derivative work when it's cropped so as to lose the foreground figures and to bring the focus entirely onto a portion that was originally a background detail.
    – MadHatter
    Aug 16, 2022 at 12:08
  • " they all seemed to me to be purely mechanical and lacking in any protectable creative expression" - noticeable work went into selection this specific set of images (several hours of looking for good examples) and later cropping etc. No idea is it relevant and counting as creative work. Aug 16, 2022 at 21:12
  • "If - though you don't need to - you insist on a single licence to cover the lot, I think you have a problem. " I am not insisting on that, though what I am supposed to do in this case? Consider entire image to not have one license but separate parts being on different licences? Aug 16, 2022 at 21:13

Part of the considerations for this answer is, whether this combination of pictures (with all the changes performed on the individual pictures, such as cropping, captions, etc) make it an adaption or not. CC has published some guidance and it is not black and white. The following is based on my assessment, that it is an adaption. (See the link below for the implications if you think it is just a collection.)

CC-BY-SA 4.0 will be perfect for this combination of photos.

For the files that are anyhow under CC-BY-SA 4.0 this is obvious.

I did not do a side-by-side comparison of CC-BY-SA 3.0 v. 4.0, I am relying on the statements by CC about compatibility which says that modified content originally under 3.0 can be licensed under 4.0 (see Section 4.b in CC-BY-SA 3.0 ).

By the nature of the licenses, files in PD or under CC0 can be used in works licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0 (see the chart here ).

While it is not necessary, in order to make it clearer for downstream users of your combined work and because it is a nice gesture towards the initial artists, and because you anyhow need a list to comply with the CC-BY-SA content, I would include the names of the creators of the pictures in PD and under CC0 in the list of attributions.

Within CC's training material they have an entire section on remixing CC-licensed work including how to distinguish adaptations / remixes vs. collections.

You may want to read the following guidance by Creative Commons:

Guidance on Attribution

Best practices for attribution

Marking/Creators/Marking third party content


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