Communities Wiki Copyright

Important note: Bentley does not own copyright on Communities Wiki article text and illustrations. It is therefore not necessary to email our contact addresses asking for permission to reproduce content. Permission to reproduce content under the license and technical conditions applicable to the Communities Wiki has already been granted to everyone without request; for permission to use it outside these terms, one must contact all the volunteer authors of the text or illustration in question.

The license Bentley uses grants free access to Communities Wiki content in the same sense that certain free software is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleft. The Communities Wiki content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Communities Wiki article used (a direct link back to the article is generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement). Communities Wiki articles therefore will remain free under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which aim to ensure that freedom.

To this end, the text contained in Communities Wiki is copyrighted (automatically, under the Berne Convention) by Communities Wiki contributors and licensed to the public under the GFDL. The full text of this license can be found starting on

Permission is granted to copy, distribute, and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.

Content on Communities Wiki is covered by disclaimers.

The English text of the GFDL is the only legally binding document between authors and members of Communities Wiki content. What follows is our interpretation of the GFDL, as it pertains to the rights and obligations of members and contributors.

IMPORTANT: If you wish to reuse content from Communities Wiki, first read the Reusers' rights and obligations section. You should then read the GNU Free Documentation License.

Contributors' rights and obligations

If you contribute material to Communities Wiki, you thereby license your contribution to the public under the GFDL (with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). 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, or
  • you acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under GFDL, for instance because the material is in the public domain or is itself published under GFDL.

In the first case, you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and re-license them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the GFDL license for the copies of materials that you place here; these copies will remain under GFDL until they enter the public domain.

In the second case, if you incorporate external GFDL materials, as a requirement of the GFDL, you need to acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location (if any) of the original copy.

Using copyrighted work from others

All works are copyrighted unless either they fall into the public domain or their copyright is explicitly disclaimed. If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair use", or if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of our license, you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates). It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of Communities Wiki's material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under the GFDL or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use.

Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others. This could create legal liabilities. IF IN DOUBT, DO NOT CONTRIBUTE IT.

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 Communities Wiki. 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 Communities Wiki 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, Communities Wiki is not restricted to linking only to GFDL-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. This could create legal liabilities. IF IN DOUBT, DO NOT POST A LINK TO IT. Linking to a page that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on yourself, Communities Wiki, and Bentley. 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.

Copyright violations

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

If you suspect a copyright violation, you should at least bring up the issue on that page's feedback link (in the footer of the page) or post an article in the Communities Feedback forum. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. Some cases will be false alarms.

Image guidelines

Images and photographs, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone holds the copyright unless they have been explicitly placed in the public domain. Images 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 doctrines may allow an image to be used irrespective of any copyright claims.


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.

Reusers' rights and obligations

If you want to use Communities Wiki materials in your own books/articles/websites or other publications, you can do so -- but only in compliance with the GFDL. If you are simply duplicating the Communities Wiki article, you must follow section two of the GFDL on verbatim copying..

If you create a derivative version by changing or adding content, this entails the following:

  • your materials in turn have to be licensed under GFDL,
  • you must acknowledge the authorship of the article (GFDL section 4B), and
  • you must provide access to the "transparent copy" of the material (GFDL section 4J).

You may be able to partially fulfill the latter two obligations by providing a conspicuous direct link back to the reference article that is hosted on this website. You also need to provide access to a transparent copy of the new text. However, please note that Bentley makes no guarantee to retain authorship information and a transparent copy of articles. Therefore, you are encouraged to provide this authorship information and a transparent copy with your derived works.

Example notice

An example notice, for an article that uses the Communities Wiki article "Bentley" might read as follows:

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Communities Wikis.

("Bentley " and the URLs enclosed in the above must of course be substituted as necessary.)

Alternatively you can distribute your copy of "Bentley " and list at least five (or all if fewer than five) principal authors on the title page (or top of the document), as explained in the text of the GFDL license. ALL RE-DISTRIBUTED DOCUMENTS NEED TO INCLUDE A COPY OF THE GFDL LICENSE TEXT.

Fair use materials and special requirements

All Communities Wiki text is distributed under the GFDL. Communities Wiki articles may also include quotations, images, or other media under the U.S. Copyright law "fair use" doctrine.

In Communities Wiki, such "fair use" material should be identified as from an external source. This also leads to possible restrictions on the use, outside of Communities Wiki, of such "fair use" content retrieved from Communities Wiki: this "fair use" content does not fall under the GFDL license as such, but under the "fair use" (or similar/different) regulations in the country where the media are retrieved.

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

If you are the owner of content that is being used on Communities Wiki without your permission, you may request the page be immediately removed from Communities Wiki by contacting our designated agent. We will, of course, need some evidence to support your claim of ownership.