In a situation, Author A creates content and makes it available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Author B takes Author's A content and properly gives them attribution. However, they take content from Author C as well. Author B has the permission to use the content, but it is not CC BY-SA or a compatible license and Author B cannot relicense or sublicense it.

If Author B does not have the right to include Author C's work in a CC BY-SA or compatibly-licensed work product, who can take action against Author B? Can Author A take action, because the terms of the license require adapted work be licensed in a way that is not possible? Or must Author C take action because their work is the one being used in a manner inconsistent with its license?

1 Answer 1


Well, it all depends on what B does.

If B makes their work available under CC BY-SA 4.0, then C can take action against them because now B is distributing C's content or work derived thereof in a manner that C has not consented to.

If B distributes their work not under CC BY-SA 4.0, then A can take against against them for breaching the license under which B has received A's work.

  • And in the case where the license of the adaptation is not explicit, I would suspect that A could take action, since the license must be clearly and unambiguously stated. Jan 19 at 13:43

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