Wikibooks:Licensing guidelines

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Wikibooks uses the GFDL license, which is a "copyleft" style of free license. This page is going to talk about what this license means, how it affects us, and how it restricts what kinds of things can be contributed and uploaded to this project.

Copyright Dictionary[edit]

There are many terms that many readers will find unfamiliar, but which are important to this discussion.

A work
A "work", in the sense of copyrights, is any piece of intellectual property created by a person or a group of people. This can be a document, a software program, music, sound, video, illustrations, photographs, etc.
By attribution
Attribution means that proper credit is given to authors, editors, translators, copiers, and distributors of a work. Think of attribution like citations in an academic paper. Attribution licenses, such as GFDL and CC-BY licenses ensure that the creator of a work always gets the proper credit and recognition for their work.
Copyleft
This is a play on the traditional term "Copyright". Where traditional copyrights are only concerned with preserving the rights of the content creator, copyleft licenses are also concerned with the usage rights of the content consumers. Copyleft licenses, such as the GFDL, or CC-BY-SA licenses, allow a user to copy, distribute, and modify a work, such as a webpage or a book, so long as the work is properly attributed to previous authors, and that future versions of the work are also released under the same license.
Derivatives
A derivative work means that you take a work that somebody else has created or distributed, and modified it. Every time you edit a wikibooks page, you are producing a new derivative of the page.
Fair use
Fair use is not a copyright license. Fair use is a legal defense that can be invoked when you use another person's intellectual property without receiving explicit permission to do so. Fair use is applied when explicit permission cannot be otherwise obtained, and when a free or copyleft alternative cannot be employed for the same purpose. Fair use requires a justification for why the work must be used without receiving permission, and it also requires a proper citation for the source of the material that is to be used.
Share-alike
Share-alike is the more professional way to say "viral". A share-alike license, such as the GFDL or the CC-SA licenses require that all derivatives of a work must also be released under the same, or in some cases a similar license to that of the original work.
Viral
A license is viral if it forces future versions of a work to also be released under the same license. For instance, the GFDL requires that all copied, modified, or translated revisions of a work must also be released under the GFDL. Viral licenses help to ensure that free contributions, such as contributions to Wikibooks, are always free.

Image Uploads[edit]

Images on Wikibooks must be released under an acceptable free-use license, or in some cases can be used under fair use. Notice that a contributor may not upload their own work as "fair use", or with any special rights reserved. If you are the original creator of an image, you may not upload your own copyrighted work as fair use. As the creator of the image, it is possible for you to grant a license to Wikibooks to use the image.

Because of the viral nature of the GFDL, and the free nature of our content, fair use is far from an ideal situation for use with images here. Fair use should not be employed if a free alternative is available, or if one can be easily created.

Textual Content[edit]

See Also[edit]