Some of you may be familiar with the collaborative fiction site SCP. Their content is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Suppose I am trying to create a game based on this. Under the ShareAlike part of that license, I'd need to also license my game under the same license. However, I'm not very clear on what exactly the requirements would be for source code availability.

  1. Is creating a game based on this classified as a 'Derivative', therefore requring me to share under the same license?
  2. If so, would my code need to be made open-source?

Also, I feel I should add that the reason I'd like this to be closed-source is not to turn a profit, or anything of that kind, rather this is a game based on exploration, and I would like to avoid people trying to cheat that part of the game.

1 Answer 1


For point #1, I'd say generally that yes, your game is a derivative, and would need to be licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 as well. Fictional characters are protected under copyright, and reuse of those characters in another work requires copyright permission as a derivative work.

However, for point #2: Creative Commons licenses are not "software-aware" as it were, and don't place requirements about alternate forms, like source code. (See Why is CC BY-SA discouraged for code?) Instead, anything you choose to distribute that is a derivative must be CC-BY-SA, but the license does not require you to distribute anything you don't want to. This is different from the GNU GPL, which explicitly requires you to distribute source code whenever you distribute a binary.

Consider, alanogously, if you were shooting an SCP movie. The movie you release to the public would need to be under CC-BY-SA, but you would not need to release whatever movie-editing "source material" went into producing the final cut of the film. (By contrast, if the original work was under the GPL, then the GPL would require you to release the version of your movie that is the "preferred form for making modifications".)

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