I am thinking about publishing a text with pictures where the text and most of the pictures are my own, while some of the pictures are by others. Those others have agreed with the inclusion of their pictures. Ideally, I would like to publish the result under a licence of the CC family.

It is my understanding that to do this, I would need the copyright holders of the different pictures to release there work under the specific CC license. Which I will never obtain.

My alternative plan was to include a copyright statement in the style

All text and the pictures where no photographer is indicated are my own work and available under the CC-whatever license. For other pictures all rights belong to the photographer and his permission is required for any use.

Is this a viable approach or does this approach have dangers that I am ignoring? Is there maybe a better approach to make the result as open as possible? And am I correct that in this scenario the resulting work would be closed and not available under any specific license?

1 Answer 1


You cannot publish the whole product under a blanket Creative Commons license, nor under any license that the copyright holders have not agreed with - either explicitly, or via any license that they have released their pictures under.

The problem for you, assuming you wish your work to be re-used, then becomes one of keeping the licensing easy to understand by potential users. Exceptions to a general license need to be clearly signposted, it is not safe for a potential user to have any confusion - in that case anyone who wants to follow copyright rules may just give up on attempting to re-use your content.

What to do depends on the relative usefulness of the text and pictures.

For example, the following variation of your suggestion works if the text is independently useful from the images - e.g. the images are improving the presentation, but not core content. In that case, you can show that by entirely separate copyright statements regarding text and image. E.g.

All text (c) ptityeti, released under Creative Commons [blah] license

Images (c) respective original artists, please see individual descriptions.

As an end user, I would prefer this kind of statement, as it is clear up-front what work I would need to do to use text vs images. It is only different in a minor way form the statement in your question, but by separating concerns clearly, and identifying specific work required to comply with copyright, it sends a clearer message to your target audience (potential re-users).

If you want to be helpful with your own images, then I suggest provide a way to get a list and/or download of all the CC images from your product in a single place. Or maybe even better, a CC version of the product with placeholders for images that you cannot share under CC.

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    I would add that personally, when my goal is to produce CC content, to not mess around with fiddly detail. Simply don't use the non-CC images. It may mean losing some nice graphics, but the end product is self-contained and much simpler to understand. I'd also suggest to only use a single CC license type and match my own licensing to it if necessary. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 10:18
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    The texts and my pictures are already available separately under a CC license. But the download in one single place is a great suggestion. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 20:48

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