I'm creating online course about coding with the Express JavaScript framework, whose site and logo are licensed under the CC-BY-SA license.

Since my course is about Express, I want to use Express's logo as a part of my course's cover. Express's logo is licensed under CC-BY-SA, so this is where I am getting confused. According to this answer:

I photoshop the image first. What now?

I can only publish the modified image under CC-BY-SA. This means attributing the original source, stating my changes, and mentioning the license. This still doesn't affect the blog post.

Does that mean that my course should be licensed under the terms of CC-BY-SA as well? I am launching it on a platform which is used to make a profit (commercial use), and I can't license it under CC-BY-SA. In another place, it says:

Can I publish an app that uses CC-BY-SA licensed background images?

This is OK as long as I provide proper attribution. Note that attribution should also include a link to the original work, so that users can download this image. I may not apply any (legal or technical) restrictions that would prevent users from exercising their rights under the CC-BY-SA with respect to the background image. But the license of the app is not affected.

As I said, it's only a part of my cover, but I combined it with other image. Does that mean I edited the image? I haven't changed any element of the logo.

So, if I use a logo licensed as CC-BY-SA as a part of my course cover, must the whole course be licensed under CC-BY-SA as well?

P.S. Related GitHub discussion

1 Answer 1


Would your course be different if someone received it without the cover or with a different cover? I expect that the answer would be no. That means that the course itself and the front cover are two independent works as far a copyrights are concerned.

As your cover uses a CC-BY-SA image, the cover is a derived work of that image and must be licensed under CC-BY-SA as well.

As the course itself is a separate work, you can license that under any license that you want.

Apart from that, the CC-BY-SA license is not a problem for commercial use. It only makes one form of making money harder, in particular making money for charging for individual, electronic, copies, because recipients also get the right to distribute copies.

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