A project I'm part of is forking the documentation of the original project which is licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License).

We obviously want to pay full attribution, I just don't want to be on the wrong side of anything here and want to make sure it is done properly, the last thing we want is to have a licencing mess later on when the project is more mature.

Essentially we are taking the original documentation and listing it in an archive section on the new website and modifying the original content fairly extensively to serve as the "new" documentation. Therefore both the original and new docs come from the original project.

Is it just as simple as creating a new licence in the root repo LICENCE.md file with attribution i.e.:

This work, "New Website", is a derivative of [Old Website](https://LinkToOldRepo.com) by Old Team, used under CC BY-SA 3.0. "New Website" is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 by New Team.

I assume we are stuck with 3.0 as from what I understand it can't be upgraded to 4.0 easily.

1 Answer 1


Having the attribution just in your LICENSE.md file is not enough to satisfy the CC BY-SA license. The attribution must be part of the documentation itself, so that if I receive a paper copy (printout) of it, I still can see the attribution.

So, in the documentation itself you should have a section mentioning the license and there you can also put the attribution to the old project and the license it is under.

As for the license you can use for the new documentation, the CC BY-SA 3.0 license is forward compatible with later versions of the CC BY-SA license, so you can choose either the 3.0 or the 4.0 versions. See also this question.

  • Thanks for the response. So in this case the documentation in split up into a whole bunch of .md files. Would the attribution need to be added to every single file in the repo itself or could it be added as a footer to each page on the rendered website (which displays all the .md files together as a single document).
    – rate_empty
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 18:37
  • 1
    @rate_empty, on the website, I would add a page "attributions" to show the information. Besides that it would be good to have the copyright, licensing and attributions in a comment in each .md file. Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 7:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.