Additional Resources

Additional details on the court cases in section 4.2:

In the FedEx Office case, the decision was affirmed by the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which stated: “In sum, the unambiguous terms of License permit FedEx to copy the Materials on behalf of a school district exercising rights under the License and charge that district for that copying at a rate more than FedEx’s cost, in the absence of any claim that the school district is using the Materials for other than a ‘non-Commercial purpose.’ The motion to dismiss is granted.”

With the Office Depot case, Great Minds claimed the copy store violated the BY-NC-SA 4.0 license for the same reasons FedEx Office did; however, Great Minds also claimed that because Office Depot reached out to school districts to solicit reproduction orders, that the solicitation is additional evidence of a license violation. The other difference with the FedEx Office case was that Great Minds and Office Depot had entered into a contract specifying Office Depot could reproduce the same publicly-funded educational materials for school districts and would pay royalties to Great Minds.[1]

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California agreed with Office Depot, stating it “concludes that the Creative Commons Public License unambiguously grants the licensee schools and school districts the right “to reproduce and Share the Licensed Material, in whole or in part, for NonCommercial purposes only,” and does not prohibit the schools and school districts from employing third parties, such as Office Depot, to make copies of the Materials. . . . Because the schools and school districts are the entities exercising the rights granted under the Creative Commons Public License, it is irrelevant that Office Depot may have profited from making copies for schools and school districts.”

Further, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California stated: “The Creative Commons Public License at issue authorizes schools to: (1) reproduce and use the Materials for NonCommercial purposes, (2) expressly permits the schools to provide those Materials to the public “by any means or process,” and (3) does not prohibit the schools from outsourcing the copying to third party vendors. Because a licensee may lawfully use a third party agent or contractor to assist it in exercising its licensed rights, absent contractual provisions prohibiting such activity, Great Minds has failed to allege that Office Depot’s conduct was outside the scope of the license and, thus, Great Minds’ claim for copyright infringement against Office Depot fails.” The Office Depot case is on appeal before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as of June 2018. The court also addressed Office Depot’s alleged solicitation of school districts’ reproduction business. The court did not find the difference urged by Great Minds persuasive or that it should change the outcome.

More information about modifying the licenses

Selected Frequently Asked Questions by Creative Commons. Licensed CC-BY 4.0

Modifying the CC Licenses by Creative Commons. CC BY 4.0

More information about marking licensed works

Marking/Creators/Marking Third Party Content by Creative Commons. CC BY 4.0

More information about license compatibility

Compatible Licenses by Creative Commons. CC BY 4.0

Wiki/CC License Compatibility by Creative Commons. CC BY 4.0

License Compatibility. CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Wikipedia article on license compatibility including open licenses that are not CC licenses
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/License_compatibility

More scholarship about CC licenses

Creative Commons Licenses Legal Pitfalls: Incompatibilities and Solutions by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay at the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam & Creative Commons Netherland. CC BY 3.0 NL

User Related Drawbacks of Open Content Licensing by Till Kreutzer in Open Content Licensing: From Theory to Practice, edited by Lucie Guibault and Christina Angelopoulos. CC BY NC 3.0

Participant Recommended Resources

CC Certificate participants’ recommended many additional resources through Hypothes.is annotations on the Certificate website. While Creative Commons has not vetted these resources, we wanted to highlight participant’s contributions here: https://certificates.creativecommons.org/cccerteducomments/chapter/additional-resources-4/


  1. According to the complaint, this contract was entered into while FedEx Office was pending. However, once the district court granted the motion to dismiss in favor of FedEx Office, Office Depot terminated its contract with Great Minds shortly before it expired and, in reliance on the FedEx Office decision, continued to reproduce Great Minds’ materials for school districts without paying royalties to Great Minds.