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Licenses and usage rights

The issue of licensing software products and which usage rights individual publishers assign to research publications is a perennial question for research.

In the following you will find a brief overview of standard licenses and usage rights.

Publishing and dissemination of digital media content

Creative Commons Licence (CCL)
  • A Creative Commons License (CCL) is a standard licensing agreement for the publication and dissemination of digital media content.
  • CC licenses are used by authors to make clear what is permissible and what is not permissible for their websites.

  • There are a total of six different standard licenses:

    • The simplest only requires the user (licensee) to include the name of the author/rights holder (licensor).
    • Other restrictions can be imposed, depending on whether the licensor wishes to permit a commercial use or not, whether it is permitted to edit or not and whether edited versions are to be made available under the same conditions or not.

  • CC licenses are provided by Creative Commons (CC), a non-profit organization.
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... on Creative Commons licenses

» University Press

Publisher usage rights


  • The SHERPA-RoMEO list provides information about what individual publishers permit in terms of self-archiving of academic publications. The list is, however, not legally binding. In cases of doubt, always consult the contract of publication.
  • A color-classification system is used to indicate what a publisher permits in terms of self-archiving in open access.

    • Green: Can archive pre-print and post-print or publisher's version/PDF.
    • Blue: Can archive post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing) or publisher's version/PDF.
    • Yellow: Can archive pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing).
    • White: Archiving not formally supported

  • The list is provided by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and is continuously updated and supplemented in cooperation with many international partners.
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... e.g. regarding secondary publications

» University Press

Open Source Software

GNU General Public License (GPL)
  • GNU General Public License (GPL) is the most widely available license for free software and open source.
  • The GPL has a "viral" character because code that is linked to GPL code must be published again under the GPL.
  • GPL grants four essential freedoms: to (0) execute the program, (1) examine and modify it in source code form, (2) redistribute exact copies, and (3) distribute modified versions.
  • GPL is published by the Free Software Foundation, a non-profit foundation.
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Further OSS licenses and further information about OSS licensing ...
GPL is just one of many OSS licenses. Here are some other links:

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