This is a human-readable summary of how licensing and copyrights work on LocalWiki.  For the official legal word, please see the Terms of Service.

LocalWiki uses a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0) license for media and written content, and the Open Database License (ODbL) for map data.

I want to use material from LocalWiki

All of the media and written content in LocalWiki is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC-BY 4.0), unless noted otherwise. This means that you can use any material from LocalWiki, so long as you attribute the material to LocalWiki.  This means you don't need to ask permission to use LocalWiki content first — you've already got permission!

Please note that in some cases we allow material (usually images) on LocalWiki that is not licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-By license. In these cases there is an indication of strict copyright by the material, or a note that the material isn't CC-BY. For instance, some photos are captioned with "Copyright The California Aggie" or "Provided by and Copyright Google" or "CC-BY-NC-ND Mark Johnson." Usually, this occurs with images, and you may need to obtain permission from the individual in these cases — it was placed on LocalWiki but not necessarily allowed elsewhere.

All of the map data and map tiles in LocalWiki is licensed under the Open Data Commons Open Database License (OdBL). It is similar to the CC-BY license in that all reuse and remix of maps and map data must be attributed. The only difference is that any derivative work must also be "share-alike" (it must use the ODbL license), or "kept open" (meaning that if a derivative work uses a closed license, an ODbL version must be made available at the same time)

How should I attribute LocalWiki material?

LocalWiki media and written content should be attributed to "LocalWiki Contributors," and, if in an electronic form that allows for it, a hyperlink to either LocalWiki or to the page(s) where material was taken from should be provided.  You may also attribute the individual contributor(s) instead of or in addition to attributing LocalWiki, and you can find information on who contributed material to LocalWiki by clicking "Info" on a page.

If you're using map data from LocalWiki, you'll need to attribute it to "OpenStreetMap Contributors."  See OpenStreetMap's page on how to do this.

I want to contribute to LocalWiki

By contributing to LocalWiki, you are agreeing to the following (among other things):

So what's this all mean? The Creative Commons Attribution license means that every single friend, weirdo, researcher, book publisher, nerd, newspaper editor, etc. can use any content you, the editor, put on to LocalWiki for whatever purposes they want. It can be ruthlessly modified, edited, and redistributed without your permission or direct control. Your material can be used for good and it can be used for bad — anyone can use it for any purpose allowable under law provided they give credit to you or LocalWiki in their use of the content!

Can I put material on LocalWiki that someone else (not me) created?

Yes you can! But it is always best that you get permission from the creator to release their work under our CC-BY license. Here's some other scenarios you might encounter, in no particular order:

  • Material licensed under an open content license is always preferred! For most media, this means one of the Creative Commons licenses. If the license someone releases their work under isn't CC-BY, CC0 / public domain, or compatible with CC-BY, just make a note next to the material indicating the license the work is under.
  • If you're using a small snippet of text or the material is otherwise fair use under US Copyright law, then it's probably okay to post it. But you've got to be careful with this kind of thing because it can be pretty tricky, and also makes it harder for other people to know if they can re-use material they find here on LocalWiki.  In these cases, be sure to note that the material falls under normal, strict copyright law. This is usually best accomplished by putting a small note or caption saying something like "Copyright Arlen Abraham."
  • You may be able to get permission use material (particularly photographs) on LocalWiki but not necessarily get permission to release the photograph under our CC-BY license.  In that case, just make sure you note that in the photo caption, e.g. "Photo copyright Arlen Abraham, used with permission."
  • Sometimes, we run into works without explicit licenses, such as community meeting notes and flyers. In this case, it's probably best to ask whoever made or collects these materials if it's ok to include images of them on LocalWiki, and if/how we should attribute the materials. For example, on the Oakland LocalWiki, you may sometimes run into images of old flyers with the note "Courtesy the Oakland History Room".

Where is a good place to find Creative Commons work to put on LocalWiki?

The Creative Commons search engine is a great place to start!

Can I copy material from Wikipedia and put it on LocalWiki?

Wikipedia uses the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) license which has different requirements from the simpler CC-BY license we use here on LocalWiki.  This means that you have to be careful when copying material from Wikipedia into LocalWiki.  The CC-BY-SA license that Wikipedia uses has more restrictions on what you can and cannot do with their information. As an example: a newspaper, campus flier, brochure or any other publication that runs over 100 copies has fairly substantial requirements and responsibilities in order to use material from Wikipedia, while there is no requirement other than attribution to use most material from LocalWki.

Here's a list of do's and don't-s for Wikipedia content on LocalWiki:

  • You can use any images you find on Wikipedia here on LocalWiki. Just make sure you note the photographer and the license of the photo in the photo caption here. It is always best to use open content images, meaning images under one of the following licenses: CC0, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA.  You can use photos licensed under any of the Creative Commons licenses here, but those are the preferred licenses for LocalWiki.
  • You probably shouldn't copy and paste text content from Wikipedia into LocalWiki.  It's okay to copy small snippets of information, as you would in a magazine, book, or newspaper.  However, wholesale copying and pasting of a page in Wikipedia is (at this time) complicated and should be avoided when possible. Besides, we're not trying to replace Wikipedia -- we're trying to record the facets of life that don't and can't fit there :)

How to report copyright violations

It is always best to simply edit the page in question, noting that you've found a copyright violation. The LocalWiki editor community takes copyright violations seriously, and will almost certainly act to remove the material. For information on our DMCA process, please see the Terms of Service.

See also