Suppose I have a website. This website is an educational site and I am releasing it under [insert license here].

My question:

Assuming I have the license at the bottom of the page, is there any need to put a popup that gets users to agree to the license?

  • 3
    I would say this may differ in different jurisdictions. But a license is nothing a user have to agree with. If he disagrees, then he can't take your contents and change and republish them (or whatever the license allows him to do). I think most jurisdictions will only demand, that the license was clearly communicated. I'm not a lawyer though.
    – Mnementh
    Jun 30, 2015 at 15:25
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's too unclear what the license would be for and what the users would be agreeing to. Jun 30, 2015 at 21:54
  • @curiousdannii what the license is for is irrelevant. Jun 30, 2015 at 22:30
  • 1
    @curiousdannii Don't close as off-topic, it would be more accurate to close as unclear what you're asking.
    – Zizouz212
    Jun 30, 2015 at 23:02

3 Answers 3


It's not at all necessary to simply use your website. Look at it this way: if you didn't have a license, then the work on the site would be copyrighted by you with no rights for other people. Adding a license gives other people some rights - is it really necessary to say "hey, do you agree to me giving you more rights?"? You can just do it.

However, if you accept work from other people to include in your website, it is necessary, because you'd be taking some of their rights away (the right to control distribution and licensing). In this case, you need their explicit agreement.


An explicit agreement is only needed when you need the user to relinquish any rights they would usually have.

Open source licenses are usually not designed to take rights away from the user they already have. They give them rights they would usually not have, namely the right to modify and redistribute. When the user does not agree to your license, then "all rights reserved" applies and they are not allowed to copy it at all.

So to merely look at your website, you do not need to bother the users with your license. You giving them the right to view the website is already implied by you putting it online on a public webserver without any access control in place.

However, when you want users to submit content under your preferred license, you need to make them aware of your license terms, because they are giving up certain rights to their work. Forcing them to confirm that they understood that "all your contribution will be licensed under [LICENSE]" is important to avoid any misunderstandings.


These are normally rectified through a Terms of Use.

Terms of Use is self-explanatory. If you would like to use the said product/service, you must abide by these instructions. In your terms of use, you can have a clause such as:

By using this site, you agree to [such and such] license

  • Terms of use are evil.
    – hildred
    Jul 1, 2015 at 3:52
  • @hildred Is that really a reason to down vote?
    – Zizouz212
    Jul 1, 2015 at 11:42

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