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The license Lockwiki uses grants free access to our content in the same sense that free software is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleft in contrast to typical copyright licenses. Lockwiki content can be copied, modified, and redistributed if and only if the copied version is made available on the same terms to others and acknowledgment of the authors of the Lockwiki article used is included (a link back to the article is generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement). Copied Lockwiki content will therefore remain free under the Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike 3.0 License and can continue to be used by anyone subject to certain restrictions, most of which aim to ensure that freedom.

To this end, the text of Lockwiki is copyrighted (automatically, under the Berne Convention) by Lockwiki editors and contributors and is formally licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike 3.0 License]].

To this end,

  • Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify Lockwiki's text under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • A copy of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License is included in the section entitled "LockwikI:CC-BY-SA-3.0"
  • Content on Lockwiki is covered by disclaimers.

The English text of the CC-BY-SA is the only legally binding restriction between authors and users of Lockwiki content. What follows is our interpretation of the CC-BY-SA, as it pertains to the rights and obligations of users and contributors.

IMPORTANT: If you wish to reuse content from Lockwiki, first read the Reusers' rights and obligations section. You should then read the Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Contributors' rights and obligations

If you contribute material to Lockwiki, you thereby license it to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike 3.0 License. Non-text media may be contributed under a variety of different licenses that support the general goal of allowing unrestricted re-use and re-distribution. In order to contribute, you must be in a position to grant this license, which means that either

  • you hold the copyright to the material, for instance because you produced it yourself and therefore own the copyright by international agreement (the most common case), or
  • you acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under CC-BY-SA, for instance because the material is in the public domain or was itself published under CC-BY-SA.

In the first case, you retain copyright to your materials. Copyright is never transferred to Lockwiki. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the CC-BY-SA license for copies of materials that you place here; these copies will remain under CC-BY-SA until they enter the public domain when your copyright expires (currently some decades after an author's death). (If the material has been previously published, you will need to verify copyright permission by contacting an administrator.)

In the second case, if you incorporate externally CC-BY-SA-licensed material, as a requirement of the CC-BY-SA, you are obliged to acknowledge the authorship with the copy and, usually, to provide a link back to the network location of the original copy.

Using copyrighted work from others

All creative works are copyrighted, by international agreement, unless either they fall into the public domain or their copyright is explicitly disclaimed. If you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of the license Lockwiki uses, you must make a note of that fact (along with the relevant names and dates). See Requesting copyright permission for the procedure for asking a copyright holder to grant a license to use their work under terms of the CC-BY-SA in Lockwiki and for verifying that license has been granted. It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of Lockwiki's material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under the CC-BY-SA or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use or otherwise. However, there are some circumstances under which copyrighted works may be legally utilized without permission; see Non-free content for specific details on when and how to utilize such material.

Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others. This could create legal liabilities and seriously hurt Lockwiki. If in doubt, write the content yourself, thereby creating a new copyrighted work which can be included in Lockwiki without trouble.

Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to Lockwiki, so long as you do not follow the source too closely. However, it would still be unethical (but not illegal) to do so without citing the original as a reference.

Linking to copyrighted works

Since most recently-created works are copyrighted, almost any Lockwiki article which cites its sources will link to copyrighted material. It is not necessary to obtain the permission of a copyright holder before linking to copyrighted material, just as an author of a book does not need permission to cite someone else's work in their bibliography. Likewise, Lockwiki is not restricted to linking only to CC-BY-SA-free or open-source content.

However, if you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work. An example would be linking to a site hosting the lyrics of many popular songs without permission from their copyright holders. Knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States (Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry). Linking to a page that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on Lockwiki and its editors. The copyright status of Internet archives in the United States is unclear, however. It is currently acceptable to link to internet archives such as the Wayback Machine, which host unmodified archived copies of webpages taken at various points in time. In articles about a website, it is acceptable to include a link to that website even if there are possible copyright violations somewhere on the site.

Context is also important; it may be acceptable to link to a reputable website's review of a particular lock, even if it presents an image of the lock (such uses are generally either explicitly permitted by distributors or allowed under fair use). However, linking directly to the lock image removes the context and the site's justification for permitted use or fair use.

Copyright violations

Contributors who repeatedly post copyrighted material despite appropriate warnings may be blocked from editing by any administrator to prevent further problems.

If you suspect a copyright violation, you should at least bring up the issue on that page's discussion page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. Some cases will be false alarms. For example, text that can be found elsewhere on the Web that was in fact copied from Lockwiki in the first place is not a copyright violation on Lockwiki's part.

If a page contains material which infringes copyright, that material – and the whole page, if there is no other material present – should be removed. See Lockwiki:Copyright_violations for more information.

Guidelines for images and other media files

Images, photographs, video and sound files, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone holds the copyright unless they have been explicitly placed in the public domain. Images, video and sound files on the internet need to be licensed directly from the copyright holder or someone able to license on their behalf. In some cases, fair use guidelines may allow them to be used irrespective of any copyright claims; see Lockwiki:Non_free_content for more.

Image description pages must be tagged with a special tag to indicate the legal status of the images, as described at Lockwiki:Image copyright tags. Untagged or incorrectly-tagged images will be deleted.

U.S. government photographs

Works produced by civilian and military employees of the United States federal government in the scope of their employment are public domain by statute in the United States (though they may be protected by copyright outside the U.S.). It is not enough that the employee was working at the time; he/she must have made the work as part of his/her duties (e.g. a soldier who takes a photograph with his/her personal camera while on patrol in Iraq owns the copyright to the photo, but it may find its way onto a unit webpage or otherwise be licensed to the government).

However, not every work republished by the U.S. government falls into this category. The U.S. government can own copyrights that are assigned to it by others -- for example, works created by contractors.

Moreover, images and other media found on .mil and .gov websites may be using commercial stock photography owned by others. It may be useful to check the privacy and security notice of the website, but only with an email to the webmaster can you be confident that an image is in the public domain.

It should also be noted that governments outside the U.S. often do claim copyright over works produced by their employees (for example, Crown copyright in the United Kingdom). Also, most state and local governments in the United States do not place their work into the public domain and do in fact own the copyright to their work. Please be careful to check copyright information before copying.


United States Code; Title 17; Chapter 1; § 105 Subject matter of copyright; United States Government works.

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

US Code

UK Copyright

The Writers Copyright Association as well as the UK Copyright Service has a good summary. The legal basis is the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, and subsequent modifications and revisions, details at Jenkins IP. In particular for literary, artistic works, copyright ends 70 years after the last surviving author dies or if unknown, 70 years after creation or publication.

The UK Office of Public Sector Information, formerly HMSO, has told us:

Crown copyright protection in published material lasts for fifty years from the end of the year in which the material was first published. Therefore material published [fifty-one years ago], and any Crown copyright material published before that date, would now be out of copyright, and may be freely reproduced throughout the world.

Comments on copyright laws by country

Russia: copyright exemptions

According to the Russian copyright law of 1993 (Федеральный закон от 9.07.1993 № 5351-1), the following items are not subject to copyrights:

  • Official documents (laws, court decisions, other texts of legislative, administrative or judicial character);
  • State symbols and tokens (flags, coats of arms, orders, banknotes and other state symbols and tokens);
  • Folk creative works;
  • Reports about events and facts, of informative character.

Russian copyrights generally expire 70 years after the death of the author. Items by authors who died prior to 1953 are in the public domain – before 2004, the expiration term was 50 years. The copyright extension in 2004 was not retroactive (see Law 72-FZ, 2004 (in Russian), article 2, part 3).

If an item was not published during its author's life, its copyright expires 70 years after its first lawful publication (if the item did not fall into the public domain before). This gives maximum term for unpublished or posthumously published works of 140 (if the author died after 1953) or 120 years (if the author died before 1953, AND their work was published before 2003).

If an item was published anonymously or pseudonymously, and its author remains unknown, its copyright expires 70 years after its first lawful publication. If the author is discovered, the usual rule applies.

Public domain status of a work in Russia can differ from that in the US, where Lockwiki servers are located.


Article 9 of Algeria's Ordonnance N°97-10 du 27 Chaoual 1417 correspondant au 6 mars 1997 relative aux droits d'auteur et aux droits voisins states that: "Works of the State made licitly accessible to the public may be freely used for non-profit purposes, subject to respect for the integrity of the work and indication of its source. By "works of the State", in this article, are meant works produced and published by the various organs of the State, local communities, or public establishments of an administrative character." (original is in French.) In short, they are available for non-commercial use - which is considered unfree on Lockwiki.

Afghanistan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, San Marino, Yemen

According to Circular 38a of the U.S. Copyright Office, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, San Marino, and possibly Yemen have no copyright relations whatsoever with the U.S. (Eritrea isn't mentioned at all.) Published works originating in one of these countries thus are not copyrighted in the United States, regardless of the local copyright laws of these countries. See 17 U.S.C. § 104(b), quoted in the Circular. Unpublished works, however, are copyrighted regardless of their origin or of the nationality of the works' authors, as long as they remain unpublished. See 17 U.S.C. § 104(a).

Regardless, Lockwiki contributors should respect the copyright law of these nations as best they can, the same as they do for other countries around the world.

Reusers' rights and obligations

If you want to use Lockwiki materials in your own books/articles/websites or other publications, you can do so -- but only in compliance with the CC-BY-SA. Please follow the guidelines below:

Re-use of text


To re-distribute a text page in any form, provide credit to the authors either by including a) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page or pages you are re-using, b) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy which is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on this website, or c) a list of all authors. (Any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions.) This applies to text developed by the Lockwiki community. Text from external sources may attach additional attribution requirements to the work, which should be indicated on an article's face or on its talk page. For example, a page may have a banner or other notation indicating that some or all of its content was originally published somewhere else. Where such notations are visible in the page itself, they should generally be preserved by re-users.

Copyleft/Share Alike

If you make modifications or additions to the page you re-use, you must license them under the Creative Commons ttribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 or later.

Indicate changes

If you make modifications or additions, you must indicate in a reasonable fashion that the original work has been modified. If you are re-using the page in a wiki, for example, indicating this in the page history is sufficient.

Licensing notice

Each copy or modified version that you distribute must include a licensing notice stating that the work is released under CC-BY-SA and either a) a hyperlink or URL to the text of the license or b) a copy of the license. For this purpose, a suitable URL is: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
For further information, please refer to the legal code of the CC-BY-SA License.

Additional availability of text under the GNU Free Documentation License

For compatibility reasons, any page which does not incorporate text that is exclusively available under CC-BY-SA or a CC-BY-SA-compatible license is also available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. In order to determine whether a page is available under the GFDL, review the page footer, page history, and discussion page for attribution of single-licensed content that is not GFDL-compatible. All text published before July 16th, 2009 on Lockwiki was released under the GFDL, and you may also use the page history to retrieve content published before that date to ensure GFDL compatibility.

Re-use of non-text media

Where not otherwise noted, non-text media files are available under various free culture licenses, consistent with Lockwiki's licensing policy (currently CC-BY-SA-3.0, see above). Please view the media description page for details about the license of any specific media file.

Non-free materials and special requirements

Lockwiki articles may also include quotations, images, or other media under the U.S. Copyright law "fair use" doctrine in accordance with our guidelines for non-free content. On Lockwiki, such "fair use" material should be identified as from an external source by an appropriate method (on the image description page, or history page, as appropriate; quotations should be denoted with quotation marks or block quotation in accordance with Lockwiki's manual of style). This leads to possible restrictions on the use, outside of Lockwiki, of such "fair use" content retrieved from Lockwiki: this "fair use" content does not fall under the CC-BY-SA or GFDL license as such, but under the "fair use" (or similar/different) regulations in the country where the media are retrieved.

Prior to July 16, 2009, Lockwiki did permit some text under licenses that were compatible with the GFDL but might require additional terms that were not required for original Lockwiki text (such as including Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts, or Back-Cover Texts). However, these materials could only be placed if the original copyright holders did not require that they be carried forward; for that reason, they impose no special burden for reuse.

If you are the owner of Lockwiki-hosted content being used without your permission

If you are the owner of content that is being used on Lockwiki without your permission, then you may request the page be immediately removed from Lockwiki by contacting an administrator. Please allow 48 hours for content removal, especially on weekends. You may also blank the page and replace it with the words {{copyvio|Source URL or reference}} but the text will still be in the page history. Either way, we will, of course, need some evidence to support your claim of ownership.

Inversely, if you are the editor of a Lockwiki article and have found a copy hosted without recognizing Lockwiki or GFDL licence please contact an administrator.

See also