There is a picture in an article I want to use. The article is by John Doe (2020). The picture is on page 100.

  1. The caption of the picture says

"Model by Denver (2005, p. 3; 2010, p.10)"

  1. The licensing terms of the article says

The images and other third-party material contained in this article are also subject to the Creative Commons license mentioned, unless otherwise stated in the figure legend. [Translation from: Die in diesem Artikel enthaltenen Bilder und sonstiges Drittmaterial unterliegen ebenfalls der genannten Creative Commons Lizenz, sofern sich aus der Abbildungslegende nichts anderes ergibt.]

The CC-license mentioned before is CC-BY 4.0.

How should I reference this? I only have access to Denver (2010) besides John Doe's article. The picture can be found there too, but is not in color and doesn't provide a cc-license, which is why I cannot take it from there. The problem is, I don't know who or what is the "author" (in the definition of the word used by cc-license) - Denver or Doe? The caption I would use is:

Model by Denver (2010, p.10). Text...Text...Text. Source: Doe (2020), licensed under CC BY 4.0, "Model by Denver (2005, p. 3; 2010, p.10)"

Is this ok in your opinion? Should I change something?


1 Answer 1


If your goal is to publish this work, just leave a blank box and put inside "see image nr. XX in Denver (2010)" and sort it out directly with the publisher (i.e. ask them how to proceed).

If you are self publishing ... contact either Denver or the publisher of Denver 2005, 2010 to ask if you can reuse the image for tell your goals, if for academic/science or for profit and they will tell you whether you have to pay or not.

Ask them if you can license modification, so you know what terms you must respect (probably they will tell you "no way" but there is no harm in asking).

  • So although the picture in Doe has CC BY 4.0, I cannot reuse it? This seems odd, doesn't it? CC should make the whole process easier... I am not trying to modify it in any way.
    – manuel459
    Jun 8, 2023 at 9:39
  • It's all about being fair. Has Doe the right to reuse the picture? What if I steal your car and then I use it to work as a taxi driver, offering lower prices with respect to other taxi drivers? Do you think it is fair ?
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 8, 2023 at 9:48
  • You changed the question. It seems now you are sure Doe is the author of the image, that he has build the image using the model from Denver. Then it is about referencing both, Denver with a citation for the model and the CC license given by Doe for the image.
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 8, 2023 at 9:51
  • Let me try to be more precise: Denver has created the model (as an idea) and provides the picture of it in his 2010 text. Its black and white and in english. Doe privdes the same picture but in German and in color. Doe publishes with Springer and the text is available online openly on the Springer homepage. Therefore, I think Doe should have asked Denver for permission to license it as a cc-license, no? So, if one trusts Doe's integrity in using Denver's picture, on should be alright using it the way I intend, no? So telling by the publisher of Doe, he should have the permission of Denver
    – manuel459
    Jun 8, 2023 at 9:56
  • Again to be more precise: I am sure Doe is the license holder (at least that's what I can tell from the picture being represented as a cc-licensed one in his article). I am also sure that Denver is the original author of the picture. Doe adapted it. What I don't know is how to reference this, since for cc-license usually, the author and the license holder are the same. Not in this case though. I hope this clears things up.
    – manuel459
    Jun 8, 2023 at 9:59

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