Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I don't expect anyone answering this question to also be, and I will not take the answer as legal advice.

Starting from a piece of software (in this case, a game mod) that is licensed as CC-BY-SA, can I create a derivative code (another mod, plus art assets) and publish my software as CC-BY-NC-SA? Or does the "SA" part in the original mod forbid this?

This is for a game that does allow mods, and which both licenses are already acceptable on the community.

I tried looking thru the licensing guidelines at the CC site, but I really haven't found a description that lets me know how can I sub-license or re-license content that is already CC licensed in a DIFFERENT license.


1 Answer 1


The key part of CC-BY-SA of interest to you can be found in Section 2a5B of the legalease.

No downstream restrictions. You may not offer or impose any additional or different terms or conditions on, or apply any Effective Technological Measures to, the Licensed Material if doing so restricts exercise of the Licensed Rights by any recipient of the Licensed Material.

Quite simply said, by adding the 'NC' to your license you are imposing additional or different terms or conditions on the licensed material of which yours is a derivative work.

Similarly, this is again covered in Section 3b1 and 3b3

The Adapter’s License You apply must be a Creative Commons license with the same License Elements, this version or later, or a BY-SA Compatible License.

You may not offer or impose any additional or different terms or conditions on, or apply any Effective Technological Measures to, Adapted Material that restrict exercise of the rights granted under the Adapter's License You apply.

That is the legalese part, the plain english can be seen in the CC-BY-SA summary page:

No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

You may say "wait, there's that comparable license" part, and if you read the Compatible Licenses from Creative Commons you will note that BY-SA and BY-NC-SA are not listed under each other's compatible licenses which is a simple "nope" to that line of reasoning. This is again covered in the ShareAline Compatibility page from the FAQ.

  • Thank you for your pointer. I was looking precisely for that "Compatible Licenses" link, but I cannot find a way to get to it from the main page. The part that had me in doubt was precisely the "No additional restrictions" from the CC-BY-SA license, since I've seen the "NC" clause being defended as both sides ("freedom to prevent other from profiting from my work", as in the GNU vs "freedom to do whatever I want" as in the BSD licence). Very well written answer, by the way. Dec 23, 2014 at 0:10
  • @GutoAndreollo main page > About (menu) > Frequently Asked Questions > General License Information > What is a BY-SA Compatible License? > "To see the list of BY-SA Compatible Licenses, click here"
    – user40980
    Dec 23, 2014 at 0:13

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