Nupedia Open Content License

John Cowan jcowan at
Mon Oct 30 15:43:40 UTC 2000

David Johnson wrote:

> "You may not charge a fee for the sole service of providing access to and/or
> use of the Content via a network"
> Why not allow someone to charge for the service? Presumably the server upon
> which the content is based cost some money to operate. The content itself is
> still free beer.

I agree with this.  Furthermore, dropping this provision allows people to
provide (e.g.) a better framing of the content, or a better search engine
for it, for a fee, without even coming close to breaching the license.
You may say that that is not the "sole service of providing access", but
I believe an enhanced-services provider would feel safer without this clause.

> "Attribution Requirement"
> I have nothing againt attribution requirements personally. But I recall
> decades during which the BSD license had an attribution requirement which the
> FSF called "obnoxious".
> And will there be exceptions for schoolchildren doing homework :-)

Actually, I think the attribution requirement is *less* obnoxious for
text than for software.  Kids, like other scholars, have to cite their
sources anyway.

> "Exceptions are made to this requirement to release modified works free of
> charge under this license only in compliance with Fair Use law where
> applicable"
> Fair Use is kept deliberately nebulous in law. It would be good if you
> explicitely listed some example of Fair Use. How much can I quote in a term
> paper before the license kicks in? Are there any additional privileges for
> educational use?

This clause is legally nugatory anyhow, because fair use is precisely
*unlicensed* use; it is a right of the public adverse to the copyright
owner's rights.

There is / one art                   || John Cowan <jcowan at>
no more / no less                    ||
to do / all things                   ||
with art- / lessness                 \\ -- Piet Hein

More information about the License-discuss mailing list