" In the Font Awesome Free download, the CC BY 4.0 license applies to all icons packaged as .svg and .js files types.". How can such simple and general purpose icons hold copyright? Also the license asks for attribution "Font Awesome Pro 6.2.1 by u/fontawesome - https://fontawesome.com License - https://fontawesome.com/license (Commercial License) Copyright 2022 Fonticons, Inc.". Not sure where to put the attribution when I am using the icons on my website.

So the question is are those general purpose icon's svg code copyrighted? can I use them in a website without worrying about the license? If not, where do I put the attribution?

3 Answers 3


You should never use 3rd party content without respecting the license under which the content is provided to you!

Apart from the commercial license you have linked above, Font Awesome also provides fonts, icons and software under free of charge licenses, as you can see here. They have put lots of effort into creating the icons in different styles, therefore I don't see an obvious reason why there would be no copyright protection.

It is very easy to include the required attribution information, demanded by the CC-BY 4.0 license, into the footer of your website, or in the 'about' page or somewhere else, where it is easy to find for the visitors. If you have any doubts please consult the CC FAQ at https://creativecommons.org/faq/#attribution .


How can such simple and general purpose icons hold copyright?

As soon as some (human) creativity has gone into creating something, it is protected by copyright. Even for icons that look simple and can be widely used, it took some creativity to create them and copyright law recognizes that.

can I use them in a website without worrying about the license?

Every time you use something that someone else has created, you need to worry about the license terms that give you permission to use it.

In various countries, there are some exceptions to copyright law where you do not need permission (a license) to re-use something, but those exceptions are far less often applicable than many people think.

If not, where do I put the attribution?

The main requirement of the CC BY 4.0 license is that you give the requested (reasonable) attribution. Where you place this attribution is mostly up to you, but it must be somewhere where a user of your site can read it.

Some examples where to put the attribution are

  • On an "about" page, together with your license terms and other attributions you might need/want to show.
  • In a footer of your site

From their license file:

Attribution is required by MIT, SIL OFL, and CC BY licenses. Downloaded Font Awesome Free files already contain embedded comments with sufficient attribution, so you shouldn't need to do anything additional when using these files normally.

  • What they claim is not entirely true. The metadata of the fonts do not include the license information (not even a link) required by the SIL OFL 1.1 License, there is only a (c) statement. The SVG files contain this: "License - fontawesome.com/license/free (Icons: CC BY 4.0, Fonts: SIL OFL 1.1, Code: MIT License) Copyright 2022 Fonticons, Inc." which does not include sufficient license and attribution language as required by the MIT license. But with the statements by Fonticons, Inc. you can likely count on "No plaintiff, no judge". Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 7:59
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    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 12:11

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