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Unless otherwise specified, all material is under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (CC-BY-SA-3.0). In other words, you can redistribute and modify if you respect the terms of license.

The license that Appropedia uses grants free access to our content in the same sense as free softwareW is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleftW. That is to say, Appropedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Appropedia article used (a direct link back to the article satisfies our author credit requirement). Appropedia articles therefore will remain free forever and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which serve to ensure that freedom.

To fulfill the above goals, the text contained in Appropedia is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Share-alikeW License (CC-BY-SA). The Creative Commons licenses are explained, along with links to the legal language of CC-BY-SA, here.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the CC-BY-SA License, Version 3.0 or any later version published by the Creative CommonsW.
Content on Appropedia is covered by disclaimers.

The English text of the CC-BY-SA is the only legally binding document; what follows is our interpretation of the CC-BY-SA: the rights and obligations of users and contributors.

IMPORTANT: If you want to reuse content from Appropedia, first read the Reusers' rights and obligations section. You should then read the explanation (and possibly the language) of the CC-BY-SA license here.


Contributors' rights and obligations

If you contribute material to Appropedia, you thereby license it to the public under the CC-BY-SA license.

In order to contribute, you therefore must be in a position to grant this license, which means that either

  • you own the copyright to the material, for instance because you produced it yourself, or
  • you acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under CC-BY-SA, for instance because the material is in the public domainW or is itself published under CC-BY-SA.

In the first case, you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the CC-BY-SA license for the versions you placed here: that material will remain under CC-BY-SA forever.

In the second case, if you incorporate external CC-BY-SA materials, as a requirement of the CC-BY-SA, you need to acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location of the original copy.

Using copyrighted work from others

No matter how generous a person or organization is about reuse of their images or content, the material must be presumed to remain under full copyright unless the owner explicitly changes the license.[1]

All works are copyrighted unless they either fall into the public domainW or their copyright is explicitly disclaimed. If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair useW", or if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of our license, you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates). It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of Appropedia's material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under the GFDL or in the public domainW are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use. See Wikipedia:WP:Boilerplate request for permission for a form letter used by Wikipedians, which we can adapt, asking a copyright holder to grant us a license to use their work under terms of the CC-BY-SA.

Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others. This could create legal liabilities and seriously hurt the project. If in doubt, write it yourself.

Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to Appropedia. However, it would still be unethical (but not illegal) to do so without citing the original as a reference. See plagiarismW and fair useW for discussions of how much reformulation is necessary in a general context.

Linking to copyrighted works

External sites can possibly violate copyrightW. Linking to copyrighted works is usually not a problem, as long as you have made a reasonable effort to determine that the page in question is not violating someone else's copyright. If it is, please do not link to the page. Knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringementW in the United States (Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse MinistryW). Also, linking to a page that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on us. If the site in question is making fair use of the material, linking is fine.

If you find a copyright infringement

It is not the job of rank-and-file Appropedians to police content for possible copyright infringement, but if you suspect one, you should at the very least bring up the issue on that page's talk page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. The most helpful piece of information you can provide is a URL or other reference to what you believe may be the source of the text.

Some cases will be false alarms. For example, if the contributor was in fact the author of the text that is published elsewhere under different terms, that does not affect their right to post it here under the GFDL. Also, sometimes you will find text elsewhere on the Web that was copied from Appropedia. In both of these cases, it is a good idea to make a note in the talk page to discourage such false alarms in the future.

If some of the content of a page really is an infringement, then the infringing content should be removed, and a note to that effect should be made on the talk page, along with the original source. If the author's permission is obtained later, the text can be restored.

If all of the content of a page is a suspected copyright infringement, then the page should be listed on Appropedia:Copyright problems and the content of the page replaced by the standard notice which you can find there. If, after a week, the page still appears to be a copyright infringement, then it may be deleted following the procedures on the votes page.

In extreme cases of contributors continuing to post copyrighted material after appropriate warnings, such users may be blocked from editing to protect the project.

See Wikipedia:WP:Copyrights for additional information and guidelines regarding Images (including U.S. Government and Celebrity Photographs) as well as Copyright Laws in other countries.

Reusers' rights and obligations

If you want to use Appropedia materials in your own books/articles/web sites or other publications, you can do so, but you have to follow the CC-BY-SA. If you are simply duplicating the Appropedia article, you must follow verbatim copying, as discussed at Wikipedia:WP:Verbatim copying.

Example notice

An example notice, for an article that uses the Appropedia article AEF greywater might read as follows:

This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. It uses material from the Appropedia article "AEF greywater".

("AEF greywater" and the Appropedia URL must of course be substituted accordingly.)

Alternatively you can distribute your copy of "AEF greywater" and list at least five (or all, if fewer than five) principal authors on the title page (or top of the document).

Fair use materials and special requirements

All original Appropedia text is distributed under CC-BY-SAW. Occasionally, Appropedia articles may include images, sounds, or text quotes used under the U.S. Copyright law "Fair useW" doctrine. It is preferred that these be obtained under the most free (libreW) license (such as the GFDL or public domain) practical. In cases where no such images/sounds are currently available, then fair use images are acceptable (until such time as free images become available).

In Appropedia, such "fair use" material should be identified as from an external source (on the image description page, or history page, as appropriate). This also leads to possible restrictions on the use, outside of Appropedia, of such "fair use" content retrieved from Appropedia: this "fair use" content does not fall under the GFDL license as such, but under the "fair use" (or similar/different) regulations in the country where the media are retrieved.

If you are the owner of Appropedia-hosted content being used without your permission

If you are the owner of content that is being used on Appropedia without your permission, then you may request the page be immediately removed from Appropedia; see Request for immediate removal of copyright violation. You can also contact our Designated agent to have it permanently removed, but it may take up to a week for the page to be deleted that way (you may also blank the page but the text will still be in the page history). Either way, we will, of course, need some evidence to support your claim of ownership.


  1. Adapted from Durova: Everything I really need to know about copyright I learned in first grade. See that link for a helpful analogy.

See also