I am working on a project to create (in PDF) letter charts for children for alphabet learning. This involves a number of different pictures from different sources (but mostly Wikipedia) and different licenses (but mostly GNU FDL, Creative Commons or public domain). My problem is: how do I properly attribute copyright and licensing of all those different pictures? How do I reconcile all those different licenses, i.e. what license can/should I use for my final work?

Does it make any difference whether we're talking about the source code here (images lying around as project files) or final PDF documents?

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


For each work that you use, you must conform to the license requirements of that work. For example, if someone releases a picture into the wild with CC0 and imposes no requirements, you may do whatever you want w.r.t. that image. If you want to use a work licensed under CC BY-ND-NC, you must give the book away. Focusing just on the attribution requirement, a typical way of doing this is in the foreword to give a list of images and their sources. This will include appropriate "share alike" language, where you may say that Images 3, 8, 12, 19 are licenses under CC BY-NC and Images 4, 5, 15 are licensed under GPL3, etc. There almost certainly must be complex language saying what permissions are given for each part of the work (you get to decide what license to use for the part that you wrote).

  • 1
    Thank you, I think your answer is a good starting point. But it doesn't even touch on the problem of how to reconcile the different license types in the final work. Typically a license like GNU FDL or CC would propagate itself onto the derived work, thus creating conflicting licensing requirements. Nor does it answer the question if distribution in source code only (project files lying around, ready to be compiled, but not yet compiled; the final PDF does not exist), is a sufficient trick to keep this license reconciliation problem out of the picture.
    – stf
    Sep 29, 2023 at 13:56

Your Answer

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