Difference between revisions of "Ref:Copyrights"

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(New page: This is a common copyright notice to all subject wikis. ==General license information== All content is put up under the [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ Creative Commons A...)
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Revision as of 07:24, 29 December 2008

This is a common copyright notice to all subject wikis.

General license information

All content is put up under the Creative Commons Attribute Share-Alike 3.0 license (unported) (shorthand: CC-by-SA). Read the full legal code here.


The software engine that runs the wiki is MediaWiki, and this software is licensed under the GNU General Public License, which is distinct from and currently incompatible with the Creative Commons license. Similarly, some of the extensions to the software engine are licensed by their developers using the GPL, which is incompatible with Creative Commons licenses.

More information on the version of MediaWiki and extensions: Special:Version.

In addition, some templates may have been copied or adapted from Wikipedia or other wiki-based websites that use licenses other than Creative Commons licenses. Wikipedia uses the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) that, as of now, is incompatible with CC licenses. In such cases, it is clearly indicated on the page that it is licensed differently.

Short description of the license

The CC-by-SA license has the following features:

  1. Content can be used and reused for any purposes, commercial or noncommercial.
  2. Any public use or reuse of the material requires attribution of the original source (for attribution formats, see later in the document).
  3. In case of adaptation or creation of derivative works, the newly created works must also be licensed under the same license (CC-by-SA) unless the creator of the derivative work takes explicit permission from the creator of the original work.

Fair use and other rights

The license cannot and does not limit fair use rights. Fair use may include quoting or copying select passages for the purposes of criticism and review.

The license also cannot limit the use of data or information contained in the content on subject wikis. This means that anybody can use or reuse the facts or knowledge they gain from the subject wiki in any way they want.

Applicability of license to the subject wiki

Examples of personal use that do not necessitate use of the license terms

  • Saving, making copies, or taking printouts of pages on the subject wiki, as long as these copies are meant for personal use and are not to be distributed to others.
  • Learning facts from the subject wikis and using those facts as part of instruction or research.
  • Providing links to pages on the subject wikis.
  • Quoting short passages from the subject wiki in a criticism or review (it is preferable, though not legally enforceable, that a link to the original content being reviewed be provided).

Examples of personal use that necessitate use of the license terms

  • Creating a mirror website by exporting pages or content in bulk: In this case, the mirror website must release the mirrored content under the same license terms and also attribute the original source with a link. Attribution formats are discussed below.
  • Giving handouts of pages or collections of pages to a group of people, such as students in a course: In this case, the handouts should be accompanied by an attribution that makes clear both the source and the original license terms, as well as a link to the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) of the subject wiki.

Attribution formats:

  • For websites: This content is from [[fullurl:Template:Main Page|Ref]] or This content is from [[fullurl:Template:Main Page|Ref, The Subject Wikis Reference Guide]]. Preferably, also a link to the specific pages (if any) used. The language of the attribution may be modified somewhat to indicate whether the content has been used as such, or whether changes have been made.
  • For print materials: This content is from Ref. The site URL is http://Ref.subwiki.org