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What is the correct way to include pictures under a CC-BY-SA license, eg from Wikipedia?

I first refrained from adding the picture in this question, but after another User decided to add it directly, I added the note about the authorship below, as this is the least way to give the attribution needed.

Is this the correct way to handle this or how should it be done?

  • The conditions are listed on the given license. – Louis Sep 6 '12 at 15:42
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    @Louis The manner of attribution is to be specified by the author of the work when licensed under CC-BY-SA. – Daniel Beck Sep 6 '12 at 16:48
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I learned quite a bit looking into this.

I think the link to the source (which includes both the author's contact information and the license information) is sufficient in this case. However, below are some of the legal specifics I found...

As Daniel Beck mentioned in the question comments, the author of the work needs to specify the method of attribution if they are concerned with the format.

If the original author does not specify, (From the Creative Commons wiki...)

The proper method for giving credit will depend on the medium and means you are using, and may be implemented in any reasonable manner

There is a Best Practices page that offers the following advice:

How do I properly attribute a Creative Commons licensed work?

All current CC licenses require that you attribute the original author(s). If the copyright holder has not specified any particular way to attribute them, this does not mean that you do not have to give attribution. It simply means that you will have to give attribution to the best of your ability with the information you do have. Generally speaking, this implies five things:

  • If the work itself contains any copyright notices placed there by the copyright holder, you must leave those notices intact, or reproduce them in a way that is reasonable to the medium in which you are re-publishing the work.
  • Cite the author's name, screen name, user identification, etc. It is nice to link that name to the person's profile page, if such a page exists.
  • Cite the work's title or name, if such a thing exists. It is nice to link the name or title directly to the original work.
  • Cite the specific CC license the work is under, and link to the specific CC license, ie. for CC Attribution you would link to http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0.
  • If you are making a derivative work or adaptation, in addition to the above, you need to identify that your work is a derivative work i.e., “This is a Finnish translation of the [original work] by [author].” or “Screenplay based on [original work] by [author].”

In the case where a copyright holder does choose to specify the manner of attribution, in addition to the requirement of leaving intact existing copyright notices, they are only able to require certain things. Namely:

  • They may require that you attribute the work to a certain name, pseudonym or even an organization of some sort.
  • They may require you to associate/provide a certain URL (web address) for the work.

The author of the photo in question stipulated the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

From Section 4a:

You may Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work only under the terms of this License. You must include a copy of, or the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) for, this License with every copy of the Work You Distribute or Publicly Perform.


In any case, I think the question in question :) is properly attributed. To be perfectly honest, there is way more to this than I had imagined. Definitely some good things to keep in mind when posting on this site and others.

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    Malicious gossip has it that there are people actively looking for forgotten attribution to their work and suing, just because they can. In fact there is at least one person in Germany I heard of who does this for his (and his lawyers) living. – Baarn Sep 6 '12 at 18:35
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    @Informaficker I suspect this gossip is actually benevolent - it's probably more than just one... it's a sick sad world we live in :-/ – Tobias Kienzler Sep 8 '12 at 8:53
  • That's OK, @Informaficker, I'd rather have that world than a world where the MPAA gets to steal music and get away with it... oh wait, this isn't multiple choice, huh? – Wayne Werner Sep 11 '12 at 14:16
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    Some of these comments are irrelevant. Creative Commons Licenses are a way of sharing content freely with all. Anyone who is generous enough to offer their original art or photography or creative work under a CC license deserves to have the rather minimal restrictions of that license honored e.g. their name mentioned, or whoever does post it, allow it to be shared freely with others. Thank you Josh! Great question, and great answer. – Ellie Kesselman Sep 17 '12 at 0:32
  • Sorry, I meant to thank @Informaficker for asking the question to begin with ;o) – Ellie Kesselman Sep 17 '12 at 0:38

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