Let's say I am reading an article published under the writers own license.

What do I do if the license is not available? For example the link is broken.

What rules do I follow?

  • What do you mean with "What do I do"? Do you want to distribute/modify the article, or do you only ask about reading it?
    – unor
    Jun 25 '15 at 14:45
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is explicitly about licenses and not about anything Open Source. Jun 25 '15 at 14:51
  • Closely related. opensource.stackexchange.com/q/1720/775
    – RubberDuck
    Jun 2 '17 at 23:17

You can always try searching the license. If the text at the bottom of the article states what license it's under (which it should do), search that. If there are multiple results that are similar if not identical, you should be able to assume that's the correct one. Please note: this method is not legally sound. Only do this for things you're very unlikely to get sued for.

Your only alternative is to ask the author: contact them, tell them the link's broken, and ask them to reply with a link to the correct license. This is legally sound, since the link comes directly from the author.

If nothing works, you must assume the work has no license and therefore is totally copyrighted. You can't use it.


Bad situation. You can't conform to a license that isn't available in text to you. So basically you have to assume, that it falls back into the status of being not licensed, so normal copyright applies and you can do basically nothing.

There is a way to make the situation better. You could ask the author to repair the situation. If the author is unavailable the problem persists, you cannot guess which terms he dictates.

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