Icons that can be used for the development of open source projects, themes and plugins are very rare. So many designers are either a little lax in their licensing, or opt to use creative commons licenses.
They would choose to use creative commons often because they think it is “free” or because they want attribution, and maybe the links that go with it.
I recently covered the inconsistant use of creative commons icons in themes.
Today I just heard one icon set owner has updated the licensing terms for his icon set from a general “free to use for any purpose” statement, to be officially GPL.
I found out about this quite by chance.
I saw a little trafic in my stats from a thread on Drupal.org, where part of a theme project had been flagged for removal from their CVS code system because it contained icons with an incompatible license – FamFamFam Silk.
The theme developer contacted the icon designer, Dale Morrell on Facebook, explained the situation, and now the icons have been switched to a GPL license.
It looks like a nice Drupal Theme.
There are 2 sets of icons
Macchiato – Social
This is a sample of 29 icons, with a full set still to be released
spirit20 consists of almost 500 transparent PNGs at 20×20 pixels
Licensing Confusion Is Rife
It looks like Edison was thinking about using the Circular Icon Set.
But there is a conflicting license on the site.
The Products Page
Claims Creative Commons
Creative commons is not GPL compatible, and doesn’t guarantee rights in the same way – it also covers display as I previously explained.
The Download Page
We have some funny wording about free to use but don’t distribute.
That isn’t GPL
That also isn’t compatible with the Creative Commons license.
The Site License For All Products
The icons are a free product listed on the products page
So all the Pro Theme Products are GPL… 100% GPL or they wouldn’t be listed on the WordPress commercial themes page.
As far as I am aware none of the icons are used in the themes, and even if they were it is quite possible the authors (Darren Hoyt & Ben Gillbanks) have licensed those particular icons differently, as is their right.
Thus this isn’t in any way suggesting some confusion in the licensing of the themes.
There was no license in the downloaded file – oops.
I can’t even differentate between which license is most restrictive… Creative Commons & GPL are both free and restrictive, but in different ways, and neither would prevent me distributing the icons.
Please Designers – Make Up Your Mind!
Clarity in licensing is important – wimpy statements on use just don’t work for open source projects as shown by Drupal, and confusing licensing on a site needs to be fixed.