Is there any licence that can be used for artistic projects (images, music, etc.) that are similar to CC-BY-SA, but with the additional constraint that not only the resulting work should be made available under the CC-BY-SA, but also the underlying project files that were used to generate the resulting derivate work.

So for example if I have an image file I've made using GIMP, and someone modifies it in any application (like Photoshop), I would also want that they publish these project files (.psd) as well along with their work.

  • Good question. In that case, there should also be a clause that ensures that all such project files should be in a format that have an open specification.
    – Turion
    Jun 30, 2015 at 13:45
  • @Turion This problem might actually be similar to the GPLv2 vs GPLv3 issue: whether having the source but not being able to do anything with it (because of closed bootloaders / closed formats) is okay or not.
    – SztupY
    Jun 30, 2015 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


If you are willing to publish your GIMP files along with the resulting image, you can use the GPL license.

The GPL requires that sources are made available along with a copyrighted work and that requirement carries over to derived works.
"Sources" is defined in the GPL license as "the preferred format for making modifications," which exactly corresponds to the .xcf/.psd files used by GIMP/Photoshop.

  • 1
    Would this work if you published a simple jpeg photo but then want derived works to publish their source files? Jun 30, 2015 at 21:51
  • but I don't want to limit the app they're using. This would include cases where they for example use the image/music in a movie, I'd like to have the source materials and the additional premiere/fcpx/avid/whatewer project files. While the GPL seems to work it's not meant for artistic projects
    – SztupY
    Jun 30, 2015 at 22:56
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    @SztupY: The fact that you are providing a GIMP file as source material does not mean that the derived woks have to be made with GIMP as well. The creators of a derived work are completely free to use whatever tool they want, as long as the publish their source files. Jul 2, 2015 at 5:18
  • @curiousdannii: Yes, it would work also for simple jpeg photos, but you could expect some bad publicity if you require the source for derived work but it turns out that you didn't publish your own source files. Jul 2, 2015 at 5:21
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau I meant the situation when you don't have source files - you are publishing an unmanipulated photo direct from your camera. There's no potential for bad publicity there. Jul 2, 2015 at 7:54

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