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I attempted to ask this question on the Github community forums, but it was flagged as spam and awaiting a review before being open again.

I recently picked up the hobby of creative writing in my downtime, and I wanted to use Github to post a web serial novel as .pdf files. The issue is, I don't want people to modify and redistribute my work. They can download it, even turn it into another format, for example, .tex, but I don't want them to modify the text itself (a derivative) and share it.

Before I go any further, I understand I'm using Github in a way it wasn't intended, so it may be difficult to do what I want.

I attempted to research further, and it seems the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence is what I require.

  1. Is CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence correct for my situation?

From the Github's ToS:

Note: If you publish your source code in a public repository on GitHub, according to the Terms of Service, other users of GitHub have the right to view and fork your repository.

  1. As stated, I can't prohibit someone from forking the repository containing the .pdf files, but if they attempted to modify and redistribute the text, they would be in direct violation of the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence, correct?

The easiest solution would be to not use Github. It might be better to use Amazon KDP, as they are set up to handle this type of situation.

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  • I think your interpretation is correct. This is the first I've encountered the -ND licenses, though, so I'm not 100% certain.
    – Ryan M
    Oct 9 at 21:27
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From the Github's ToS:

Note: If you publish your source code in a public repository on GitHub, according to the Terms of Service, other users of GitHub have the right to view and fork your repository.

Note that what you quoted as "from GitHub's ToS" is not a quote from GitHub's ToS. It is a quote from GitHub's documentation about how to use the Repository Settings page.

This is the actual quote from the ToS, and I believe it is much clearer [bold emphasis mine]:

5. License Grant to Other Users

Any User-Generated Content you post publicly, including issues, comments, and contributions to other Users' repositories, may be viewed by others. By setting your repositories to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view and "fork" your repositories (this means that others may make their own copies of Content from your repositories in repositories they control).

If you set your pages and repositories to be viewed publicly, you grant each User of GitHub a nonexclusive, worldwide license to use, display, and perform Your Content through the GitHub Service and to reproduce Your Content solely on GitHub as permitted through GitHub's functionality (for example, through forking). You may grant further rights if you adopt a license. […]

The actual ToS make it very clear that the only rights you grant to other users are all about viewing, using, displaying, performing, and copying, but not about modification.

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