For a website, I'm using some dictionaries which were created by a community and licensed with the Creative Commons "ShareAlike" provision:

If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

Let's say that in our hypothetical dictionary, an entry is as follows:

banana (noun): 1. a curved yellow fruit. 2. a crazy person

If I have website where a user can search a word and get just the first definition (1. a curved yellow fruit), does leaving out other information count as "transformation" or "remixing"?

I suppose this likely applies to other data sources, not just dictionaries, as well -- if I only partially use the information in the source, is that "snippet" affected by the ShareAlike provision?


(Assuming CC BY-SA 4.0)

The actual license uses the terms Adapted Material (≈ with changes) and Licensed Material (≈ without changes).

If you leave something out, it doesn’t fall under Adapted Material, but under Licensed Material, as the License grant says (bold emphasis mine):

Subject to the terms and conditions of this Public License, the Licensor hereby grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-sublicensable, non-exclusive, irrevocable license to exercise the Licensed Rights in the Licensed Material to:

  • reproduce and Share the Licensed Material, in whole or in part; and

  • produce, reproduce, and Share Adapted Material.

So if you share the Licensed Material in part (e.g., only the first definitions of all dictionary terms), and you don’t add your own content, it doesn’t become Adapted Material.

You still have to give attribution and note that the content is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, of course.

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