I am the author of a open source library for websites that is licensed under LGPL. To make this library easy to use for non-developers I plan to create a simple to use UI-component based on the library which is free, but not open source. To make the difference between the two parts clear:

  • My library can read and render particular file formats in the browser.
  • My component is a visual control that can be used by end-users easily. It consists of a special layout, a menu, settings that can be adjusted, a toolbar and the most important thing for me a logo with the product name. Clicking on the logo will show a small about box containing further attribution as required by licenses (name of the component, link to the component website, LGPL info, CC logo etc).

My case is comparable with a PDF library. The library for rendering PDFs is open source, but the full-blown PDF viewer component is only freeware under CC.

Since open source licenses tend to allow rebranding and removal of logos I plan to release this component as "freeware" under a CreativeCommons license. People should be allowed to use and redistribute the component but do not change it by modifying the source code or removing the logo and about box.

I planed to use Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International for my component but the ShareAlike part does not directly prohibit the removal of my logo as long as the attribution is done appropriately. Am I safe with this license or do I need to go for a Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International? Without derivatives there would not be the possibility to create a version which does not contain the logo.

  • 1
    1) The library is licensed under LGPL, correct? 2) As you say "freeware": Are you fine with users selling your UI component?
    – unor
    Mar 11, 2017 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


If you want to disallow modifications, you certainly want to use a NoDerivs license.

In general, CC BY-SA is just as permissive as plain CC BY-SA, with the exception that downstream changes must remain under CC-BY-SA. Neither CC BY or CC BY-SA prevents modification (indeed, allowing modification is a large part of the point), and they do not contain any special considerations for preservation of branding or trademarks. (In fact, if a downstream users does modify the work, they should remove any trademarks, or else run the risk of misusing your trademark for a version of the work that you didn't approve.)

Consider also that CC BY-SA 4.0 is GPLv3-compatible, so you must be prepared for the possibility that someone will modify your CC BY-SA work and license the modified work under the GPLv3.

  • Thanks for this explaination. This means I will need to go for a NoDerivs variant of CC.
    – Danielku15
    Mar 15, 2017 at 19:14

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