I noticed on this answer: https://english.stackexchange.com/a/182362/37273 the phrase “Removed OED content as it is not allowed under my license agreement” is used a couple of times.
What is this about?
Do not use this answer as an example of what we can and can't do. We are allowed to quote the OED - they are wrong.
I got in contact with OED, and they said essentially:
We can't use their definitions.
Sorry guys. I didn't mention stack exchange or ELU, so we won't suddenly be getting a letter of complaint (I pretended it was wiki answers).
Their fair usage policy states that you can take individual definitions and quotes as long as it isn't a regular thing, and is not on-line. Occasional usage by newspapers etc. is fine, but not for the type of Q&A that we have here. It is fine to link to the OED, but not quote it at all.
There is an option that SE could buy certain rights, but that is likely to be extortionate (I didn't enquire about actual costs).
It may be sensible (again, I'm also not a lawyer) to use one without this copyright - maybe thefreedictionary.com.
I am currently getting in contact with Collins English Dictionary, to find out about their restrictions.
I have contacted Collins with the following email:
I am interested in what the copyright is on the Online Collins Dictionary, and whether I am aloud to do the following:
"licensed to [name removed for confidentiality] under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license."
i.e. anyone can then reuse it as long as it is kept in that licence.
6) Link to it on that site.
The reason for all of this is for helping others with the English Language. Any information posted on the above site is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike meaning that
The Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence allows re-distribution of licensed work on the conditions that the creator is appropriately credited and that nay derivative work is made available under the "same, similar or a compatible licence"
Can I do any of the above?
End of Email.
Reply from collins:
Thanks for your email.
We are happy to grant permission for you to use excerpts from the Online Collins Dictionary as outlined below. For the purpose of clarity, this use does not permit derogatory use or allow for alteration of our content. Where possible, please link back to and credit the Online Collins Dictionary.
Given the nature of your use we are happy to waive any copyright fees.
All the best,
I'm not a lawyer (either), but I think Frank's comment is potentially misleading. None of us can say exactly what OED would accept as "fair use" (or which if any courts in which countries would uphold that position).
So what Frank means is that he thinks OED wouldn't consider citing a definition here on ELU to be "fair use" (or perhaps he just thinks that's at least feasible, and doesn't want to take a chance on being sued for copyright infringement). My position rests on two assumptions...
1: TPTB within SO probably know more about this than most of us users.
If they thought there was likely to be a problem, they'd have told us already.
2: TPTB within OED probably also know more about this than most of us.
If they weren't happy with the situation, they'd have complained to SO already.
On that basis, "I ain't frit".
frit adj. Dial. and colloq.
pa. pple. of fright v. 2a.
Letting everyone decide for themselves what is and is not a copyright violation is just a horrible, horrible idea. Copyright law isn't a matter of opinion. We need clear policy on what we can and cannot quote. And we need to be able to flag possible copyright violations to be reviewed by people who actually know about copyright.
While I am not a lawyer, I have participated in many discussions about copyright issues with experts, and have learned a great deal. There's stuff I don't know, but the following I know for certain:
What the OED says about what is a copyright violation has nothing to do with whether it actually is one. No amount of legal disclaimers will change this.
The legal info on Stack Exchange is not an attempt to license quotations from other works. Any such licensing would fail. There is absolutely no legal problem here.
Fair use, or its equivalents in other countries, does not exist at the whim of the copyright holder, but is a legal right. Copyright holders can say what they will pursue as violations, but they have no power to change it.
I also know that many, many organizations will quote from UK sources, and many quote from the OED2. These organizations have lawyers who have apparently authorized this use. Absent our own lawyers or citations from lawyers, that's the best information we have on the subject.
Finally, I also know from my experience on YouTube that many, many organizations will lie about what is and is not fair use. The OED is the last source we need to listen to on this subject.
Those are my answers and my edits.
I had copied information from OED2 without written permission, which I thought would be OK under a 'fair-use' type policy, however after reading this https://stackexchange.com/legal Section 3. Para.1 (goes on a lot longer than this snippet) I realised that SE demands that I license all content that I add to this site to SE.
You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. You grant Stack Exchange the perpetual and irrevocable right and license to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so in any medium now known or hereinafter developed (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services, even if such Subscriber Content has been contributed and subsequently removed by You.
Whilst I might be able to argue that copying small parts comes under a 'fair use' policy I can not grant a license to Stack Exchange to other people's copyrighted work under any guise of 'fair use'.
I now no longer add definitions copied from any copyrighted source, if I need to I will provide a link to the source (without including any material) or where possible the material will come from OED1 which is not under copyright.
Some links to UK 'Fair Use' and copyright information (which is what OED/OUP fall under)
Note that I am not, in any way, suggesting that others must do the same.