Publication of Screenshots in a book

  • Jorge A. Vázquez

    Hello everybody:

    I am new in this forum and a lover of Stellarium.

    I am a Spanish author and I wanted to ask a question:

    May I include any screenshoot of Stellarium, in a book about "Learning Astronomy in the Internet", that I am in writing now for Spanish readers? Screenshoots would be complete, so everybody would see what software has been used. "Url" of Spanish Stellarium would appear under every screenshot.

    It is not going to be an "Atlas of the Sky" with lots of maps, but a "Guide for learning Astronomy", with maps only for some examples of important objetcs in the sky, and explanations of how to use Stellarium for stargazing and searching in the sky.

    It will be also a good publicity for Stellarium.

    If nobody could answer me in this forum... Who can and where is he or she available?

    Thanks for your answerand good luck!

    Jorge A. Vázquez

    • Jorge A. Vázquez

      Thanks to all!

      Really, screenshots are for explaining how to use Stellarium for astronomical observing and for learning. I think the book will be richer with these images. However, I will be careful and take into acount license conditions about some textures and graphics.

      Thank you again and congratulations for such an amazing software.


    • Matthew Gates

      Matthew Gates - 2008-01-14

      [insert disclaimer about not being a lawyer, and this not being intended as legal advice here].

      AFAIK the only thing to be careful about is some of the images which Stellarium uses - some of the Nebula textures and the Milky Way texture for example - may be used only with proper attribution per image and/or for non-commercial purposes. See section 4 (graphics) of part 8 (references and credits) of the README file for more information about specific images.

      For non-commercial work, I personally would use the screenshots without worrying too much about it. If the book is a commercial venture, I would seek permission from the copyright holders if any of their images were to appear in a screenshot.

      We did have a discussion about this on the developer mailing list or in the forum a little while ago but I can't seem to find it. I don't remember exactly what was said. We really should make some generic advice and stick it in the FAQ.


    • Jorge A. Vázquez

      Thanks a lot!

      Well. It seems I can include screenshots in my book (commercial use), but being careful with some graphics, that I should ask for permission to copyright owner.

      I have some doubts in license text (graphics, 4.8):

      "Use the image freely (including right to modificate and distribute) as long as it is credited" I seems to mean that I can include those images in my book, but with credits information, isn't it?

      And in GNU, General Public License:

      "Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
      covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of
      running the Program is not restricted, and the >>>>>output from the Program
      is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
      Program<<<<< (independent of having been made by running the Program).
      Whether that is true depends on what the Program does."

      Is this an authorization for screenshoots use?


      • Fabien Chéreau

        Fabien Chéreau - 2008-01-14

        Normally every images distributed with Stellarium should also be authorized be be copied, modified and redistributed, provided that it's credited. If it's not the case then it should be removed from the package. But I think they are all 'open-source compliant'.
        So yes you can use the screen shots for your book.


      • johannes

        johannes - 2008-01-14

        Hello Jorge,

        In a book you can quote other book without violating the copyright of the other book. But for each quotation you must explicitly state from what other book the quotation is. Since you are an author, you certainly know this already. And with a program it is very much the same, I think, no matter what license the program has.

        In fact we like of course that you want to make a section about stellarium in your book, containing quotations (that are screenshots in this case).

        And yes, you are right, you are allowed to use the output of a GPL program as you have stated above. Nevertheless you should write from where the screenshot is, even though the GPL license does not force you to do so. And yes, when the screenshot contains only stars, labels, atmosphere, grids, text and similar, the GPL grants you the right to use the screenshot without restrictions.

        But when the screenshot already contains copyrighted material like constellation art, nebula textures, planet surface textures, landscape textures, milky way texture and other textures, I think it would be wise to read the license conditions for these other image data. Mind that you will have no problem with the stellarium license, but maybe with the license of a special texture. This is important when you do not want to make quotations only, but when a substantial part of your work consists of stellarium screenshots (like a movie or a calender, we are sometimes asked about this).

        However when you only want to quote the stellarium window in order to describe what can be seen inside, I think you do not even need to ask for our permission to do so. This is similar to a review in a computer magazine.

        I wish you much success with your book. Yours,


  • Scott Onstott

    Scott Onstott - 2010-01-30

    I'm making a documentary and want to use a few Stellarium screenshots
    including the milky way background and constellation art. I'd like to credit
    all 3 content creators in the film but don't know where to find who made the
    milky way image and constellation art. I'm on the Mac version of Stellarium.
    Any help appreciated.

  • Dan Pidcock

    Dan Pidcock - 2010-02-01

    You can find image copyright information in the README (latest at http://stel
    It states:

        4.7 The fullsky milky way panorama is created by Axel Mellinger,
            University of Potsdam, Germany. Further information and more
            pictures available from
            License: permission given to "Modify and redistribute this image
            if proper credit to the original image is given."
        4.13 Constellation art, GUI buttons, logo created by Johan Meuris
            (Jomejome) (jomejome at
            License: released under the Free Art License
  •  frikosal

    frikosal - 2010-02-01

    Hi everybody. I remember once I asked a similar question but to me, sentences
    like "I think it would be wise to read the license conditions for these other
    image data", are a bit scary as they mean at least finding and reading some
    difficult legal texts and perhaps lots of problems.

    So I ended using a simple drawing of the constellations I needed for my

    I mentioned Stellarium as I think it is very good, but without screen
    captures. This is a pitty, when people see the screen captures they always
    download it.

    Would it be possible to write a short and clear text describing what can be
    legally done with the images and how to credit all the project ?


  • Matthew Gates

    Matthew Gates - 2010-02-01

    I think the problem is that we don't know the definitive answer because of
    some of these image issues, and we don't want to pay for legal advice. I agree
    it would be nice.

    If we could replace those images which make things complicated with public
    domain or explicitly "attribution" licences, we could solve the problem.
    Finding such images is probably easier and quicker and less hassle than
    getting legal advice, and it will definitely be cheaper.


  • Reinhold Weber

    Reinhold Weber - 2010-04-05

    I want to do the same like Jorge. But there is still no anserwer?

  • Bruce Ryan

    Bruce Ryan - 2011-02-23

    Hello there
    I'm in a similar position - I'd like to include a couple of screenshots in a
    free PDF I'm producing for my employer, a Scottish educational publisher. The
    PDF is free, but my employer is a for-profit company and the PDF is to augment
    a for-profit book. (Details of this book are at
    emailed the two artwork contributors mentioned above to and now am using this
    forum to check with the Stellarium community whether there's any objection to
    using these screenshots.

    I plan to include an acknowledgement reading 'We would like to thank the
    following for permission to reproduce their material: and its
    contributors, particularly Axel Mellinger and Johan Meuris, for the
    screenshots of Stellarium and included constellation art on pages 2 and 3,...'

    I hope this is OK - if anyone objects, please let me know via this forum or
    bruce.ryan at

    many thanks all round

    Bruce Ryan

  • Jose

    Jose - 2013-11-28

    First of all sorry for my english, i'm not a lawer and is not legal advice here,
    I just want to call or an email for a commercial use of the screnshots,I would like to include an acknowledgement from the softweare(Really awesome Stellarium) that could help to recibe more donations, included mine, and can help to my economy, can you help me please?
    Thanks for your attention

  • Anonymous - 2015-06-10

    I think its actually quite easy. GPL states that:

    This screenshot is of a program that has been released under a free software license. As a derivative work of that program, this screenshot falls under the same license.

    Free software license: GPL
    Note: if the screenshot shows any work that is not a direct result of the program code itself, such as a text or graphics that are not part of the program, the license for that work must be indicated separately.

    This means, that since Stellarium is GPL'ed, if you simply install the package and nothing else, and use it and only it to make a screenshot, you can use it in any way you like, even without crediting anyone.

    If that's not true because Aexl or others put some conditions on their graphics, either these graphics must be removed from the package, or the license changed.

  • VReijs

    VReijs - 2015-06-27

    I like the remark of Jun 10th, it reads authoritative. So if some graphics don't fit the GPL, they should be removed from Stellarium and perhaps provided as a separate package with separate conditions.

    All the best,


    P.S. I am not a legal person. But I have listen several similar discussion in my professional environment.

  • Comment has been marked as spam. 

    You can see all pending comments posted by this user  here

    Anonymous - 2015-12-21

    Hi everybody, I have a question. I'm a visual artist and filmmaker. I'm making a new film which is based on a year and every chapter is introduced by an image of the zodiac constellation that fits to that month. I have taken screencaps of stellarium of the night sky and drawn in the lines connection the constellation myself. I'm not making hollywood films, but my films are for sale, so it's commercial. Does anybody know if it's alowed to use the screen caps in this way, or can I buy the rights somewhere? thanks!!!



Cancel  Add attachments

Get latest updates about Open Source Projects, Conferences and News.

Sign up for the SourceForge newsletter:

No, thanks