Ubuntu Font License compatibility

Asked by Anas Ramadan on 2012-02-13

Hi,
I hope this is the right place to ask this question.
I'm working on a font intended to be licensed under Ubuntu Font License.
Can I insert some works licensed under one of these licenses to my work:
- GPL.
- GFDL.
- CC-BY-SA.
- The Free Art License.

Question information

Language:
English Edit question
Status:
Solved
For:
Ubuntu Font Family Edit question
Assignee:
No assignee Edit question
Solved by:
Paul Sladen
Solved:
2012-02-13
Last query:
2012-02-13
Last reply:
2012-02-13
Paul Sladen (sladen) said : #1

Hello Anas.

In short, no, you cannot mix content under differing copyleft licences. You can only migrate content from a less-restrictive licence, to a more-restrictive licence *in one direction only*. (So, from Apache v2 -> GPL v3; but not the other way around).

Copyleft licences (by definition) are those that force the perpetual free (libre) availability of a work, by only allowing distribution under the same licence thereafter. Mixing ("linking") content under separate licences is not allowed. (This applies as much to the interium Ubuntu Font Licence v1.0, as to any other libre/copyleft licence).

Perhaps you could make a collection of *separate* components each under their own separate licences (without mixing them directly)?

Does that answer you question; is there anything you'd like me to try and expand upon? If you can give specific details about the components you'd like to combine, I might be able to tailor the answer better to your needs. In some cases it may be possible to get in contact with the original authors for them to dual-licence their work under a separate additional licence to allow compatibility.

Anas Ramadan (anas.ram) said : #2

I'm building a pictogram font using a set of SVGs; most of them are licensed under CC0, CC-BY, and pubic domain, which is Ok legally I think (correct me if I'm wrong).
But I have some SVGs licensed under GPL and The Free Art License.
I got your answer, thanks, but are you sure about The Free Art License too?

Best Paul Sladen (sladen) said : #3

IANAL (I am not a lawyer), but you'd likely need to create three separate font .ttf files:

  1. one .ttf with the GPL SVG pictograms, licensed under the GPL
  2. one .ttf with the Free Art Licence SVG pictograms, licensed under the LAL
  3. one .ttf with the CC-BY-SA SVG pictograms, licensed under CC-BY-SA

You should then be able to add the CC0 and "public domain" pictograms to all, or any of those. If you had a CC-BY SVG pictogram you could also add that to the CC-BY-SA .ttf (both of these are adding less restrictive licensed-materials to more restrictively licensed-materials).

You could then distribute the three separate .ttfs together in a .zip/.tar.gz with a 'copyright' file that clearly details the separate authorship and licence for each of those linked .ttf files.

Anas Ramadan (anas.ram) said : #4

Thanks Paul Sladen, that solved my question.