Global Warming Art:Copyrights

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One of the goals of Global Warming Art is provide an archive of easily reusable material related to climate change. This is done by emphasizing figures and images that can be freely licensed; however, because this site presents both original works and material from third party sources, care must be taken to respect the copyright licensing terms associated with the text and images presented here.



Except where otherwise indicated, all of the text appearing on this site is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). Hence the text on this site may be freely incorporated into any other documents that obey the terms of the GFDL provided that this site is properly attributed as the source. Since the GFDL is the same license used by Wikipedia, text may be freely exchanged between this site and Wikipedia provided that the original source is noted. In particular, if text is copied from this site to Wikipedia (or any other GFDL wiki), it is requested that this site be noted as the origin in the edit summary. Similarly, text from other GFDL sources may be incorporated into the pages presented here, in which case this will be noted in the "page history" accessible from the "toolbox" menu at left.

For use outside the context of the GFDL, one may also quote or paraphrase the text that appears here in a way that is consistent with the United States doctrine of fair use or other locally appropriate statute.


The figures and photographs presented in Global Warming Art are derived from a variety of sources. As such it is necessary to check the image description page of each image to determine the appropriate licensing terms. In most, but not all cases, those terms will allow the images to be used on other sites and projects provided proper attribution and other terms are met. Each image's description page can be reached by clicking on any small copy of the image as it appears on this site, and doing so should direct you to a page that contains a "copyright" or "licensing" section and describes the terms applicable to reusers. Common examples of different type of images are public domain, GFDL, and Creative Commons.

Please note that some images cannot be used commercially, without additional approval from the image's copyright holder.

Global Warming Art License

Original works created for this site will usually be licensed under the "Global Warming Art License" which distinguishes different classes of use for different potential applications.

The three classes of use are "academic and non-commercial", "free content", and "commercial". The first two classes allow for broad reuse at no cost to the publisher and with no prior approval. The third class governs most commercial projects, and provides instructions for obtaining usage rights for a nominal fee.

Academic and non-commercial use

Images licensed under the "Global Warming Art License" may be freely used in any academic work where the author does not receive a fee. This includes journal publications and academic presentations. In addition the images may be used in any other form of non-commercial publication (See: Global Warming Art:Non-commercial).

In both cases authors are expected to follow these two simple rules:

  • You should provide an acknowledgment alongside the image to both Global Warming Art and the image's author. The recommended format is something like "Image created by Robert A. Rohde / Global Warming Art" but this may be varied to conform with a publication's style.
  • In projects where it is practical to do so, you should also include a link and/or reference to the specific description page associated with the image. This will have a form similar to:
    Such references may appear either alongside the image, or in a separate section where other source material is acknowledged.

Academic authors are also invited to cite the source data and any other associated references when they feel doing so is useful to their publication. This information will generally be available on the image description page.

Authors of academic and non-commercial works may also request higher resolution and or vector graphics versions of images. Such requests will be filled, at no cost, when it is reasonable to do so.

Free content

Free content refers specifically to projects that create new work under a copyleft licensing scheme such as Wikipedia. The allowed free content licenses are:

In each case, it is expected that the totality of the work will be provided under the free content license, thus ensuring that new content is created for future users. The specifics of these licenses vary, but in each case, the reuser is still expected to acknowledge Global Warming Art and provide a reference back to this site.

Since these licenses require that the resulting works be available for free redistribution, such licenses are unsuitable for most commercial projects.

Commercial Use

Most images created for Global Warming Art may be licensed for commercial use at a nominal fee that supports the operation and development of this work. Persons interested in obtaining such a license may contact You are encouraged to provide the following information:

  • Name of the image or images required
  • Name, nature, and target audience of the publication it is intended to appear in
  • Approximate size of the print run or distribution
  • Region and/or language of distribution
  • Any additional rights requested

For examples of third party publishers who have used materials created for Global Warming Art see image use by others.

Data vs. Image distinction

In the context of graphs and charts, it should be noted that under United States copyright law, it is usually not possible to copyright scientific data. In the US, copyright only protects creative expressions and under established case law most scientific data is regarded as "facts which are discovered", and are consequently ineligible for copyright protection (see: Feist v. Rural). However, copyright will often extend to the particular way in which that data is represented. So, it is often the case that a specific plot or image representing that data will be subject to copyright even though the underlying information is not. This site relies upon the US exception for scientific data in constructing many of the figures presented here and reusers in other locations should consider whether or not the underlying scientific data might be subject to copyright in their jurisdiction and act accordingly.


Like many legal issues, copyright can be complicated. If you have questions or concerns about the licensing of a specific image appearing on this site, feel free to contact us at Please provide specific details about your intended use.