ShareAlike compatibility: FAL

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This page documents the primary decisions made by Creative Commons when considering the Free Art License 1.3 ("FAL") for ShareAlike compatibility pursuant to the compatibility process and criteria.


  • The FAL was formally proposed by CC and Copyleft Attitude as a candidate for compatibility on 22 July 2014.
  • CC published a preliminary analysis of the FAL on its wiki.
  • Public discussion period ran from 22 July to __ October 2014.
  • Compatibility determination published on ______

How compatibility operates

When someone takes a BY-SA work, adapts it, and then applies the FAL, both licenses apply to downstream users. However, because of Section 2(a)(5)(B) of BY-SA 4.0, anyone who receives the adapted material downstream may satisfy the conditions of both licenses (i.e. attribution and ShareAlike) in the manner dictated by the FAL.

When someone takes an FAL work, adapts it, and then applies BY-SA 4.0, the BY-SA 4.0 license governs the entire work. As in the BY-SA to FAL scenario, however, both authors must be attributed.

Policy decisions


The two licenses have slightly different attribution and marking requirements. The FAL has fewer total requirements than BY-SA, but it does have some requirements that are not included in BY-SA.

Specifically, the FAL requires:

  1. name of author(s),
  2. attach license to work or indicate where license can be found
  3. info on where to access the originals (Sec 2.2)

We determined that the minor differences in attribution requirements were not significant enough to disrupt licensor expectations or cause problems for licensees.

License scope

The FAL licenses copyright and performance rights, though licensors are prohibited from using related rights to prevent exercise of the permissions granted by the license. BY-SA 4.0, on the other hand, licenses some rights beyond copyright, such as sui generis database rights and neighboring rights. Unlike the FAL, BY-SA requires compliance with its conditions (attribution, ShareAlike) even when those other rights, and not copyright, are implicated.

For compatibility purposes, when someone takes a BY-SA work, adapts it, and then applies the FAL, there is a possibility that a downstream user may not realize they need to attribute and ShareAlike when they share the work in a way that implicates only sui generis database or neighboring rights and not copyright. As a practical matter, however, we feel this is unlikely to be a major problem given that most reusers will either be unwilling or unable to discern when one type of right is implicated but not another closely related right. Accordingly, most reusers who are concerned about doing the right thing are likely to attribute and/or ShareAlike where there is uncertainty.

Effective technological measures

Unlike BY-SA, the FAL does not explicitly prohibit the application of DRM or other effective technological measures ("ETMs") to the licensed work, but it prohibits users from doing anything that prevents others from exercising the license freedoms. Because this implicitly disallows ETMs, we feel this difference is not a significant concern for compatibility.

Automatic reinstatement after termination

Unlike BY-SA, the FAL does not have a provision allowing licensees to automatically get their rights back under the license after they correct a violation. When a BY-SA work is adapted and the FAL is applied, at worst, licensees will not realize their rights are automatically reinstated under certain circumstances. We do not feel this is an obstacle to compatibility.

Option to comply with later versions

The FAL gives licensees the option to comply with a later version of the FAL, regardless of whether the work has been adapted. BY-SA, on the other hand, allows licensees to comply with the conditions of future versions of BY-SA, but only if that version was applied to an adaptation of the work. When a BY-SA work is adapted and the FAL is applied, licensees may attribute and ShareAlike according to the conditions of the FAL. The FAL provision giving the option to comply with later versions should not affect licensees' obligations vis-a-vis BY-SA 4.0 unless and until later versions of the FAL are deemed compatible to BY-SA 4.0.