Artists: Read Licenses!

There is a set of icons that just got posted to deviantArt and it got me thinking about the problems with artists understanding licenses:

The icons are great and these works are awesome and I love that artists are playing with the creative works that are shared in the greater commons available from the Ubuntu community. The problem of course is that ubuntu-mono is licensed as CC-BY-SA, in ubuntu-mono/debian/copyright:

(c) Canonical Ltd 2004- 2009

Unless otherwise indicated, artwork is available under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license v3.0 or any later version.

The artist has published his work under a CC-BY-SA-NC license, it turns out that the work is inspired by but not a derivative work, bit if this new work had been based on the original ubuntu-mono icons, then they should be licensed CC-BY-SA as the share-alike terms specify.

Most of the time it’s just confusion and ignorance about the rights and requirements of various licenses and the need to check the licenses when creating derivative works. See the comments below for examples of confusion over the creative commons website text and what issues it can come up with.

This is actually quite hard to manage on the desktop since we don’t express license terms per file in any way on the desktop, it’d be on my wishlist to have some kind of indication on files when they have license terms marked in their meta-data. For SVG files this is quite easy as the terms are normally in the meta headers.

What are your thoughts? Do we do enough to help artists understanding licenses?