I'd like to release some artwork under the CC0 license, but I'm a bit worried about the implications of that...

What is someone allowed to do with a CC0 work? What's the worst that can happen?

Or more specifically...

  • Can they claim that they are the original author?
  • Can they assign a different license to the work and redistribute it?

To clarify what I already understand:

  • Anyone can use the artwork for (almost) any purpose.
  • They do not have to give me any credit or even mention that they did not create it.
  • They may redistribute it, even by selling it.
  • what is copyleft supposed to represent?
    – user9447
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 13:53
  • Hey Greg, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! Commented May 21, 2015 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


There is one thing that a user of the work cannot do, and that is to claim copyright on the original work. One of two things happens (legally) with CC0: either the work is released into the public domain (if local copyright law permits that); or the author of the work retains full copyright, but the work is licensed for any and all uses. Effectively (though not legally) these are the same thing - specific uses of the work may be copyrightable and have a different license (such as prints or other derivative works), but the work itself is either in the public domain or under your copyright, and no other person (or entity) can claim copyright of the original. For example, if you were to release a story under CC0, a book produced using that story can be copyright by another person/entity, but it's things like typesetting, illustrations, pagination and so forth that are copyrightable in the new work, not the story itself.

  • 3
    I'm afraid to upvote and ruin your 666 rep!
    – Manly
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:33
  • @JohnManly - I hadn't noticed. Don't touch it, anyone! Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:49
  • 2
    I’d like to add that in some legislations, the equivalent to copyright is inherently bound to the creator of the work and not transferrable, e.g., in German, where it is Urheberrecht (“creator’s right”).
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:58
  • 6
    Here is a tasteless pun, dont get offended. Just in time before 676
    – joojaa
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:59
  • 1
    @GregZaal - There are very few jurisdictions in which CC0 results in dedication to the public domain, and you would need to be living in such a jurisdiction for dedication to happen (in all other jurisdictions, at least those that are party to Berne and WIPO, your inalienable copyright would have to be recognised, even if that jurisdiction allows dedication to the public domain). Commented May 25, 2015 at 3:06
  • No one can claim to be the original author on a public domain work. That is considered Copyfraud.
  • Assingning a different license to a public domain work and redistributing it is possible. But that does not change the original public domain dedication. So there will be no way of enforcing those restrictions ;)
  • "these actions carry little or no oversight by authorities or legal consequences"
    – Rag
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 18:19
  • 3
    o.O It's Blender Diplom! I wasn't expecting to see you here! Hi :)
    – gandalf3
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 21:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.