Adaptation Status Chart

[Ce tableau existe aussi dans une version française.]

When adapting a work (also known as making a derivative work or remix), the copyright status of the work has a strong influence on the possible copyright status which can be applied to the adaptation. Below is a table which explains how the status of the original work influences the status of the adaptation, as well as influencing in an unexpected way the possible uses of the adaptation.

First, some notes:

  1. The scenario we are imagining is where the adaptor is a different person (or entity) from the rightsholder of the original work — if, instead, they were the same person, then they could put any legal status they like on their adaptation (consistent with whatever restrictions may lie on the original work for other reasons).
  2. We are also imagining that the adapter wants to do their work without direct, specific permission of the rightsholder for the original work — if something is not permitted below and is important to the adapter, they always have the option of contacting the original rightsholder and requesting that particular permission.
  3. Putting an adaptation into any of the statuses listed below will restrict how that adaptation is used — such as no commercial use for an adaptation which is licensed with the NC clause, and pretty much no use is possible at all (without the adapter's permission; ignoring fair use/dealing at the moment) for adaptations which are put under all-rights-reserved ©. What the fine-grained results below indicate is any additional restrictions which may arise from the copyright status of the original work that is adapted during this particular act of adaptation. E.g., when we say below that you may put a an adaptation of a public domain work under a CC BY-NC license "without any additional permissions or conditions," we mean that you don't need anyone's permission to make this adaptation with this status, and the adaptation may be used in any way that is consistent the the BY-NC license (hence the "no additional permissions").
  4. That "without any additional permissions or conditions" is doing even more work, in fact: One of the conclusions of this chart is that some works may have surprising restrictions on their use which is not clear in simply their copyright status. E.g. a work which is not released under an NC license may nevertheless be under the restriction that it may not be used for commercial purposes — even a work in the public domain! That's a pretty surprising fact, and one which goes against the way we usually think of works in the public domain. But that means, for example, if you look in the following chart and see that you may adapt a work in the public domain and put it under any copyright status you like "without any additional permissions or conditions," you may still have to follow those pre-existing conditions on the work in public domain.

With all that understood, here is the full chart:
 

Adaptation Status Chart
  Status of Adaptation
PD BY BY-SA BY-NC BY-NC-SA BY-ND BY-NC-ND ARR ©
Status of Original Work PD GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT
BY OK GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD OK
BY-SA NO NO GOOD NO NO NO NO NO
BY-NC CARE CARE CARE GOOD GOOD CARE GOOD CARE
BY-NC-SA NO NO NO NO GOOD NO NO NO
BY-ND NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
BY-NC-ND NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
ARR © NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

 
All abbreviations are links to the right spot in the Key, below.
 

Key to Abbreviations
Abbreviation Meaning
PD "Public Domain." This may be indicated on the work by a mention of the CC0 Public Domain Dedication tool and/or with its symbol CC 0 icon, or by the Public Domain Mark Public Domain Mark icon, or the adapter may simply know, e.g., because of its age, that a work is in the public domain.
BY Creative Commons Attribution license, often indicated by the symbol CC BY icon.
BY-SA Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, often indicated by the symbol CC BY-SA icon.
BY-NC Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, often indicated by one of these symbols, depending upon region CC BY-NC icon with dollar symbol or CC BY-NC icon with euro symbol.
BY-NC-SA Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, often indicated by one of these symbols, depending upon region CC BY-NC-SA icon with dollar symbol or CC BY-NC-SA icon with euro symbol.
BY-ND Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives license, often indicated by the symbol CC BY-ND icon.
BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license, often indicated by one of the symbols CC BY-NC-ND icon with dollar symbol or CC BY-NC-ND icon with euro symbol.
ARR © "All-rights-reserved copyright." This is the traditional form of copyright outside of open licensing approaches. It may be indicated on a work with the copyright symbol © together with the phrase "all rights reserved," but not always: some works have the symbol © and then go on to add a Creative Commons license statement (since CC licenses are built on top of copyright!), and some works have no copyright statement at all but fall into the domain of all-rights-reserved copyright as a default.
GREAT This adaptation status is permitted without any additional permissions or conditions.
GOOD This adaptation status is permitted without any additional permissions under the condition: the adaptation, as well as any downstream adaptations which may be made in the future which have enough shared expression with the original work to be considered as adaptations of that work, must give attribution to the original work and its creator.
OK This adaptation status is technically identical to the one labeled GOOD immediately above, i.e.:
This adaptation status is permitted without any additional permissions under the condition: the adaptation, as well as any downstream adaptations which may be made in the future which have enough shared expression with the original work to be considered as adaptations of that work, must give attribution to the original work and its creator.
However, in this case, since the adaptation status is not one with a CC license, this attribution requirement is usually unexpected and therefore should be clearly stated alongside the adaptation.
CARE This adaptation status is permitted without any additional permissions under the condition: the adaptation, as well as any downstream adaptations which may be made in the future which have enough shared expression with the original work to be considered as adaptations of that work, must give attribution to the original work and its creator and may only be used for non-commercial purposes. If the adaptation status is not one with a CC license, these additional requirements are usually unexpected and therefore should be clearly stated alongside the adaptation.
NO This adaptation status is not permitted without additional permissions.
 
 
 

While I do not believe this work to be an adaptation, it is influenced by, and in many ways a response to, the content of the two charts on adaptation and remix from this Creative Commons FAQ answer, which was released by Creative Commons under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.


Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License This chart has been released previously by its creator, Jonathan A. Poritz, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license, however it is now being released also under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, for ease of adaptation.