P.Mean: Can I use some material from your website? (created 2008-07-18).

Someone wrote in asking for permission to use some of the material on my old website, www.childrensmercy.org/stats. From December of 2007 through June of 2008, that was an easy thing to do. I had placed all of the content of my old website under an open source license. In particular, I used the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Unfortunately, someone at the hospital raised a question about this and I may not have had the right, by myself, to declare that those web pages would be made available under such a liberal license.

I'm trying to get this resolved, but for the short term, I would advise caution. I would certainly encourage you to use any material that would be available under the "fair use" provisions of the copyright law.

In order for something to fall under the fair use provisions, you have to assess four elements.

  1. What is the purpose and character of the copied material? "At issue is whether the material has been used to help create something new, or merely copied verbatim into another work."
  2. What is the nature of the original work? "Because the dissemination of facts or information benefits the public, you have more leeway to copy from factual works such as biographies than you do from fictional works such as plays or novels."
  3. How much of the original work was used? "The less you take, the more likely that your copying will be excused as a fair use."
  4. Does the intended use of the copied material harm the real or potential commercial market for the original work? "Another important fair use factor is whether your use deprives the copyright owner of income or undermines a new or potential market for the copyrighted work."

Quotes are taken from the Stanford Copyright & Fair Use site, fairuse.stanford.edu.

Fair use, of course, is more restrictive than the Creative Commons attribution license, and its provisions are somewhat difficult to follow. Still, I suspect that you could get most if not all of what you want done under those provisions.

Any material at my new site, www.pmean.com, is licensed under the Creative Commons attribution license, but since this site is just getting started, you will not find as much material there. The difference between the two sites is that the new site was created and updated on my own time.

I hope to resolve the issue in the next few weeks, and I am optimistic that I will be able to use the more liberal Creative Commons attribution license. But I can't guarantee it, of course.

When the issue is resolved, I will certainly mention it on my new website.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. This page was written by Steve Simon and was last modified on 2010-04-01. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Website details.