I'm working on a talk, complete with an accompanying resource pack and website.

I've never released anything I believe to be of some actual significant monetary value to anyone else before so I'm a little bit stumped.

Here's how I want to license all / any of the content.

Treat this content as if it's an unlimited, never-ending supply of free beer delivered as often as you like in a bottle with a label on. Provided all the "free beer" remains free you can do what you like with, drink it, give it to a friend, remix it, relabel it, share it with your friends. The only requirement is that you say where the "free beer" came from.

If you however you wish to distribute the beer for money, as is or with modifications or as part of a larger pack of other similarly licensed free beers, via any distribution network that generates you revenue, you are required to purchase an additional license from the original provider of the beer.


Which creative commons license can I use?

  • 1
    We can only help with the first license (the free one) here - the second would be a commercial, nonfree license, which are more diverse and we can't recommend.
    – ArtOfCode
    Aug 12, 2015 at 23:43
  • 1
    The first one sounds like the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial, which is not strictly a free license, but is still fairly common. Aug 13, 2015 at 0:11
  • @ArtOfCode is there a meta or help entry about that? If not, maybe there should be. I mean, Open Source is not necessarily free as in beer or free as in speech.
    – RubberDuck
    Aug 13, 2015 at 1:55
  • @RubberDuck, commercial licenses tend to be tailor made for each project and even customer. They typically limited licenses that restricts use to certain territories and only for a limited time. Depending upon the materials they may permit or allow things like aggregation, adaptation, public performance, fixation, etc. Since all this depends on the project as well as the customer, it would be hard to provide help about commercial licensing arrangements beyond: "hire a lawyer". Aug 13, 2015 at 3:52
  • 1
    This is what your question say: "Provided all the 'free beer' remains exactly in its current form you can do what you like with, drink it, give it to a friend, share it with your friends." This is not the same as: "you can compile it to a list, gallery, make and distributive derivative works so long as it is available with the same original attribution license." Please clarify your requirements regarding derivative works. Aug 13, 2015 at 8:14

2 Answers 2


Let's take a look:

The nature of what you would like to license sounds like a creative one: It looks like you've got a talk, resource packages (which look like it is writing) and you've got a website. Already, we can narrow down to Creative Commons licenses.

Provided all the "free beer" remains exactly in its current form you can do what you like with, drink it, give it to a friend, share it with your friends.

Alright, if you would like people to be able to share their work, but not make anything out of it, then you need to remove the "derivatives" clause. In order to make sure that other people don't take the "derivatives" from your friends, and start selling them, you're going to need a ShareAlike clause, to make sure that any changes will have to follow the same rules as what you originally gave to others.

Therefore, your license of choice should be the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This one should do what you would like it to.

As for your second license, the site is not really in a position to help you. We don't deal with proprietary licensing, and proprietary licensing doesn't fall within the scope of the site. You'd probably be better to just slap it "All Rights Reserved" and then let people contact you: thus negotiating things.

  • Almost but with non-commercial derivatives that are distributed under the same license.
    – Luke
    Aug 13, 2015 at 13:22
  • 1
    So you would like your friends to be able to share what changes they make as well?
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 13, 2015 at 13:23
  • I take the up vote as a yes then. I have one more question for you: If your friends make changes, should they be allowed to sell it? Should they be required to use the same license (so that the friends of your friends can't use a different license?)
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 13, 2015 at 13:25
  • If my friends want to sell the changes, they'll need to purchase an additional non-creative commons license that grants sub-licensing. They can then dual-license the derivative work however they see fit but must make it available to others for non-commercial usage under the original creative commons license.
    – Luke
    Aug 13, 2015 at 13:30
  • @Luke But they would be able to share whatever changes they make, provided that is under the same Creative Commons license that you released it under?
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 13, 2015 at 13:31

Edit: The original question requiring that any sharing of the materials should be restricted to the materials "exactly in its current form". This restriction was lifted and instead permission to remix was added (to match another answer). I've therefore edited my answer to match the changed question.

The license model you're pursuing is sometimes referred to as "Commercial Rights Reserved", where you offer your materials gratis for non-commercial uses, but do not allow commercial reuse. Having this restriction in place means that someone who want to distribute the same materials for money, need to purchase a separate commercial license to be allowed to redistribute.

In addition, you want to allow non-commercial users "remix" (i.e. to create any derivatives of the materials), provided they share under the same license as the original license.

The Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) is a non-free (as in "freedom") public license that will allow gratis reuse (including remixing) of the materials, but reserve commercial rights (which then can be licensed separately by means of a commercial license in a dual-license arrangement).

As for the commercial license, these are usually custom made for each customer, and you need to hire a lawyer to help you with that.

There is no details about what is included in the "resources pack" you plan to distribute along with your talk, but please note that CC BY-NC-SA is not a software license and Creative Commons recommends against using Creative Commons licenses for software. However, CC BY-NC-ND is AFAIK the only existing ready-to-use public license that imposes the restrictions you are looking for and still allows some use of materials for non-paying users.

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