Interoperable interactive geometry for Europe
I forgot my login data

Report a bug

Fan club

Quick Intro Videos
click to start movie
Create A Simple
GeoGebra Resource (25Mb)
click to start movie
Filing a review
click to start movie
Find a Resource

This platform is brought to you by the intergeo project, funded under the eContent Plus programme of the European commission and by partners


This is the i2geo manual about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). It was written to clarify issues about IPR for (potential) users of the i2geo platform.

i2geo strives to be an open platform, to which anyone can add content which can then be re-used by others. In this spirit, all materials found on this site are automatically copyrighted with the CC-by license, unless explicitly stated otherwise. This applies to all resources and text documents uploaded to the site. (When uploading such files, you will have the possibility to indicate a different copyright license.) But this also includes material such as blog posts, forum messages and group messages, and any other written text a user puts on the platform. See also the Terms of Service.

We know that teachers are sometimes concerned about copyright for material they have created. Therefore, we include here a small overview of (Creative Commons) copyrighting, specifically in relation to i2geo.

Misconceptions about IPR

Based on experience acquired over the years, we can say that the three major misconceptions the intergeo project has to fight regarding Intellectual Property Rights are, expressed from the point of view of an author:

  • I leave my resources on a web server for everybody to download, without any protection. It means they are free.
  • If I let other people change my resources, they will spoil them and make me look like a fool as the author of resources that no longer have anything to do with my original work. The only way to prevent that is to forbid people from changing it.
  • I don't want to distribute my resources freely, otherwise I won't be able to publish them through commercial channels.
There is a short and a long answer to these misconceptions. The short answer is that an author doesn't lose her rights on the content she distributes. Instead, she simply empowers other users with new rights on the content. The longer answer adresses these three misconceptions in turn:

  • As an analogy: leaving the door of your house open doesn't mean that everybody is welcome to dwell there. If no license is stated for a resource, the implicit rights of the user are to be able to do nothing with the material, the author retains all the rights. If you want people to use your content, you have to explicitly tell them so. That's the role of a license, it clarifies the extent of the rights of users.
  • An author can ask to be removed from the list of authors of a resource when she thinks the changes have betrayed her initial purpose and that she no longer recognizes her "baby'' and wishes not to be associated with that resource any longer.
  • She can as well relicense her work: distribute the very same content using different licenses. She can not forbid people who used a resource distributed under a CC license to continue using it according to that license. Once it's given away with such a license, she can not reclaim it. But she can nevertheless distribute that resource through another medium, for example accompanied by a book and a CD-ROM by a publisher, with a commercial license. We want to encourage the use of the i2geo platform as a "preview'' tool, a place where editors could advertise for interactive geometry content by giving away some nice extracts, teasers of full courses that they sell.

Licensing the i2geo content

One of the aims of i2geo is that its registered members can author, share and use teaching resources with the global education community.

Every contribution of a resource in the i2geo platform must be done with a license. It is important that the license is clearly marked on a resource because the users must know about it, they must be aware of what permissions they have. Therefore this field is mandatory in the metadata. An author has to be identified and linked to a valid email address in order to be reached if permissions are asked. Of course, avatars and "noms de plume'' can be used for people who don't want to be personally identified. Groups of users and institutions can also be copyright holders. A work in progress can be left without a license, but that resource will then not be publicly accessible.

As for the choices of licenses, the intergeo projects fosters content that can be adapted by the users: When a user detects inaccuracies in a document or if he judges an explication as insufficient, he can give a feedback to the author through forum messages or email and wait for the change to be made. Or he can simply, when the license allows for it, directly modify his document locally, or if the license allows for it, publish this new version himself. The modification could either be considered a nuisance by the former author — then the two versions will live different lives and evolve at their own pace, for different audiences — or be considered an improvement — and the two versions could then be merged into a single document.

Introduction to IPR

When you upload a resource to the i2geo platform, you will be asked to supply metadata for it. A general guide on how to annotate a resource with metadata is given in Intergeo's Annotator Manual. One specific piece of metadata you will be asked for is the copyright license the author (you) wants to attach to the resource. You might not have given much thought to copyright, because after all, it is the content, the quality of the resources, that matters. One possibility to handle the problem is just to leave the copyright license to be the default value that the i2geo platform suggests. However, it is good to realize that it means agreeing to certain conditions. If you want to know what the possible licenses on the i2geo platform and their conditions are, you might want to read this short document.

The i2geo platform strives to be a center of communication and sharing for the community of mathematics teachers in Europe. This could in principle be severely hindered by problems with copyright, this being either the absence of a clear copyright license for a resource or a very restrictive license. For example, as a teacher you do not want to have to phone up the original author of resource every time you want to demonstrate something in class, just to ask for permission. So every public resource on the platform has to have a clear and not too restrictive license. By the way, if you are not sure about the license you want to apply, you can always keep a resource private for a while, until you have decided.

The possible licenses for i2geo resources are Creative Commons licenses and the GNU Free Documentation License. The Creative Commons licenses are licenses that are meant to encourage open sharing and the possibility of adaptation of work of others. They have been ported to many countries. The GNU Free Documentation License is a license that is recommended principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.

For all the details about Creative Commons, see and for the details about the GNU Free Documentation License, see

The licenses that are currently applicable for Intergeo will be commented in the following subsections. They are:

  • Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license (CC-by-sa) The authors are stated and modified work has to be distributed with the same license.
  • Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike Non-Commercial license (CC-by-nc-sa) It restricts the field of possible recipients.
  • Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative License (CC-by-nc-nd) Redistribution "as is'' is allowed, but the documents can not be changed and may not be used for commercial purposes.}
  • GFDL GNU Free Documentation License
  • Creative Commons Public Domain License: This license is actually a non-license, it is a dedication, which resigns on any rights.

Creative Commons licenses

Creative Commons licenses (CC) let people easily change their copyright terms from the default of "all rights reserved'' to"some rights reserved'' by selecting and mixing among four options that are understandable and made visible by icons:

  • Attribution (give credit to the authors)
  • Non Commercial
  • No Derivative (verbatim, don't modify)
  • Share Alike (change it but keep the license)
So, the copyright terms can be modified to best suit the i2geo members needs. Creative Commons licenses' legal infrastructure gives the members flexibility, as you'll read in the next paragraphes. Furthermore, the users of i2geo are protected; they don't have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the terms the person who contributed by adding materials has specified.

Most of the (CC) documents of i2geo are published with a (CC-by-sa) Creative Commons' Attribution Sharealike license, as is this document; they can be copied, distributed, transmitted, displayed, performed and adapted freely. For the IPR specialists, this license can be said to be the GNU LGPL or MPL equivalent license for content.

Some of the (CC) documents that are published with an Attribution license feature the ShareAlike option. If these documents are altered, transformed, or built upon, they may be distributed only under a license identical to the license that governs the i2geo trace. So, the terms that the i2geo collaborators chose for their original documents are preserved. The ShareAlike option may also limit how much the derivative work can be shared. Normally a lot of researchers, teachers, … will contribute on this project. And so it is important that the documents are always used under the terms the initial creator wants, even after many generations of copies and derivatives. Therefore the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license is the default license in the intergeo project.

Other (CC) documents published with an Attribution license feature the Non-Commercial option. They may not be used for commercial purposes. These documents can be copied, distributed, displayed and performed, but for noncommercial purposes only. This also counts for derivative works based upon one of these documents. The problem with this license is that the perimeter of non commercial activity is not clear: do you want to prevent its use in private schools like confessional schools, in private lessons, in homework schools, in print, in private websites (not only the ones you pay for but simply the ones supported by advertisement)? At schools and universities, which are properties of the government bodies it's pretty clear you're non-commercial. In particular, it prevents its distribution in the form of a CD-ROM where only the price of the medium is charged. Therefore we discourage its use. On the other hand, if a special permission is granted by emph{all} the authors, a resource can be relicensed from a non-commercial to a commercial setting. But we expect that most resources are going to evolve a lot and acquire many different contributors in their list of authors. In the software industry, tracking authors has proved difficult for relicensing work that has been elaborated upon. Although we will try our best to continuously match an author to a valid email, we expect it will be similarly difficult in the future for i2geo resources.

Other more (CC) documents published with an Attribution license feature the NoDerivative option. These documents can be copied, distributed, displayed and performed, but they can't be altered, transformed, or built upon. So, only verbatim copies of these documents are allowed; no derivative works based upon one of them.

So, Creative Commons licenses (CC) in the Intergeo Project are a great choice for the Project Members and for the persons who contribute by adding materials. They can share their work whilst still retaining some rights. In particular they can choose the options to apply to their documents. An author retains his intellectual property rights on the content, for example the right to be removed from the list of authors. This also means, that no user may use the i2geo collaborators' work in a way they disagree with.

Advantages of the Creative Commons licenses

  1. As explained in the previous paragraph, the i2geo collaborators can share their work whilst still retaining some rights (choice of options).
  2. Creative Commons licenses (CC) have been translated into many languages and jurisdictions all over the world. In view of the fact that the main objective of i2geo is to make digital content for mathematics teaching in Europe more accessible, usable and exploitable, it is essential that every user, independent of his mother tongue, can understand the permissions the i2geo members have applied to their documents.

GFDL GNU Free Documentation License

The purpose of the application of the GFDL GNU Free Documentation License for i2geo is to make the teaching and learning resources "free'' in the sense of freedom, not necessarily in the sense of "free of charge''. The documents of i2geo, that are published with this license, can be copied, modified and redistributed by everyone, either commercially or noncommercially, whilst the effective freedom is assured. Every user possesses extended user rights on these documents, provided the list of the author(s) is given and the same license is applied to the derivative works of the initial document (they must themselves be free in the same sense). Therefore this license is a kind of "copyleft''.

"Copyleft'' is a general method for making a document free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the document to be free as well. It says that anyone who redistributes the document, with or without changes, must pass along the freedom to further copy and change it. "Copyleft'' guarantees that every user has freedom.

This license preserves for the i2geo authors a way to get credit for their collaboration, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

i2geo is free and free software needs free documentation. Among other things, this license is recommended for i2geo because it is designed principally for instruction or reference.

Disadvantages of the GFDL GNU Free Documentation License

  1. The fault found with this license is that, compared with others, it is more complicated and only exists with English dubbing. However, one of the objectives of i2geo is to offer content for students, learners, teachers, … in Europe independent of their mother tongue. Notice that there exist however some inofficial, legal translations. These translations only have a legal reality in the United States. In particular the GNU Free Documentation License is translated to French at
  2. The GFDL authorizes the author to forbid modifications of certain paragraphs, in case these paragraphs contain information about the authors. This runs contrary to the thoughts of Software Liberty.
  3. Copylefting can be considered as a disadvantage too. The application of the GFDL GNU Free Documentation License can't be combined with the application of the Creative Commons' Attribution ShareAlike license.
  4. Among others the GFDL GNU Free Documentation License is the choice of all tracenpoche content and of all Wikipedia documents. And so it makes it an unavoidable choice for the intergeo project.

Creative Commons Public Domain License

In addition to the (CC) documents published with an Attribution license, there exist documents that are published with a Creative Commons Public Domain License. The authors of these teaching and learning resources

  1. either certify that, to the best of their knowledge, the author's rights of the document are in the public domain of the country in which the initial document is published,
  2. or certify that all the rights of the document (that are still the author's) are conferred to the public domain.
Moreover, the authors of these (CC) documents confer all the copyright interests they may have in the created resource as described in the previous paragraph; that's why these authors are called "dedicators''.

The dedicators must verify the copyright status of their created resource. They confer the copyright interests to the public domain for the benefit of the public, but to the disadvantage of their heirs and successors. The dedicators are conscious that such relinquishments of copyrights include all the rights that are used for enforcing copyrights and other rights of the resource by recourse to legal action.

The dedicators accept that, once placed in the public domain, their document can be freely reproduced, distributed, adapted, modified, built upon, transmitted, used by anyone for any purposes, commercial or non-commercial, $hdots$ including the methods of using a work that have not been invented or conceived at the moment of the application of the license.

So, the simplest way to make a document free is to put it in the public domain, uncopyrighted. This allows the i2geo collaborators to share their documents and their improvements, if they are so minded. But it also allows uncooperative people to make changes, many or few, and distribute the result as a proprietary product. The i2geo users, who receive the documents in that modified form do not have the freedom that the original author gave them.

The intergeo project does not advise to use this license because it doesn't protect at all the author. Someone can grab the content and claim to be its author, make money out of it without having to ask a permission or giving credit for it.


To sum it all up, the intergeo project allows many licenses but fosters the CC-by-sa license, understands the need of CC-by-nc-sa in some limited cases, discourages the use of the GFDL for its readability and strongly discourages the Public Domain license.

 CC-by-saCC-by-nc-saCC-by-nc-ndGFDL GNUPublic Domain
The author must be mentionedXXXX 
Republish without modifications under a different license    X
Republish without modifications under the same licenseXXXXX
Republish with modifications under a different license    X
Republish with modifications under an identical licenseXX XX
Integrate into another document with a different license    X
Integrate into another document with the same (identical) license (works with all CC-licenses)XX XX
Distribute in a commercial settingX  XX
Relicense    X
Use for personal needsXXXXX
Use for the students (in non-commercial education)XXXXX
Use modified for the students (in non-commercial education)XX XX

Table 1.An overview of the possibilities that the various licenses used on i2geo allow.