I'm planning a language app for mobile devices using data from Wiktionary. I'm planning on web-scraping the content and compiling it into a database that I'll package with my app.

Most Wiktionary content is dual-licensed under the CC-BY-SA and GFDL. They provide useful information as to what that entails for developers. But it's still not quite clear to me what parts of my app need to be made available under the same licenses.

I think my database would be considered the "derived work". Does that mean I only need to make the database available under the same licenses or the entire app?


Your database content is definitely a "derived work" of Wikitionary and needs to be licensed under CC-BY-SA and/or GFDL (you can choose to use only one of them).

Your database structure (which tables you have in the database) is most likely not a "derived work" of Wikitionary, unless you specifically re-used the data structures from Wikitionary (which is very unlikely as you intend to fill the database using web scraping).

For your app, it depends on to what extent your app relies on the fact that your data comes from wikitionary. If the code of your app doesn't care where the database and its content come from, then it is definately not a "derived work" of Wikitionary. In that case, you can use any license you like for the app.

  • Could you possibly provide an example of when the code of my app would "care where the database and its content come from"? The database is basically the heart of the app, because the app exists to provide access to language info, but the fact that it's from Wiktionary definitely isn't relevant for the app.
    – MyiEye
    Nov 29 '18 at 22:33
  • 1
    @MyiEye, no I can't give an example off the top of my head. If the app doesn't care how the database got populated, you are good. Nov 30 '18 at 7:22
  • @Schenau How would I put only the content of a database under license, but not the database itself?
    – MyiEye
    Dec 1 '18 at 17:01
  • 1
    @MyiEye: That would be worth a new question. In short, you mention it in the documentation of your app. Dec 2 '18 at 8:07

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