Licensing Policy


The current version of this policy is 1.0. Any revisions will be announced and published here.


ScriptSource is a service operated by SIL International to serve language communities worldwide. Our postal contact address is ScriptSource, SIL Non-Roman Script Initiative, 7500 West Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas, TX 75236, USA. This Licensing Policy applies only to what is provided through the online service, and not to other services of SIL International.


ScriptSource is a service and a community designed to facilitate the creation, distribution and refinement of writing systems components and related documentation. We believe every writing system should have at least one full-featured, unencumbered reference implementation, but support and encourage the development of multiple implementations, including commercial ones.

To best enable this development, ScriptSource recognizes the need for a variety of licensing approaches for content and software. Authors and rights holders may wish to explicitly allow or restrict the reuse of submitted content or software according to their goals. Some content on ScriptSource is used by permission of other organizations, and has specific limits on use and redistribution. Data compiled by SIL International as part of the internal systems of ScriptSource also has specific licensing requirements. See the Terms of Use for further details.

ScriptSource's general philosophy on content and software licensing can be summed up in these five points:

  • ScriptSource will always respect the copyright and licensing applied to content and software, communicate those clearly to visitors and contributors to the site, and promote understanding of copyright, licensing and the proper use, reuse, study, modification and redistribution of content and software.
  • ScriptSource strongly encourages that submitted content and software be made available through open licensing models for maximum access by all.
  • ScriptSource will accept contributions under restricted licenses, but will always prefer open licenses and interoperable open formats, and reserves the right to refuse submissions under restricted licenses or obsolete formats.
  • ScriptSource will require that when authorship, copyright and license are initially unknown or unspecified, every effort is made to determine the authors and corresponding rights holders and respect their licensing. The ScriptSource editors will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept content for which copyright has expired, has been explicitly waived, is unspecified or unknown after significant effort to find pre-existing rights.
  • ScriptSource recommends that public domain content and other unlicensed material be published on ScriptSource under a free and open content license. Our intent is to clarify its status at the international level and act as custodians to simplify and maintain longer-term access to the resource for everyone.

The intent of this policy is to enable both commercial and non-commercial development of writing system implementations for computers and electronic devices. It encourages and promotes unencumbered, reusable and remixable content, and the collaborative development of software components.

Recommended and Supported Content Licenses

When an author submits content for publication on ScriptSource, the submitter is required to specify the content's copyright and license. If the content already has a particular license attached, then that license must be indicated. Note that in the case of restricted licensing, the existing license must allow re-publication. If it is not clear that such re-publication is allowed then that content should not be submitted.

In most cases, however, an author submits content directly to ScriptSource. The author is then encouraged to license their content via the following choices. Note that once a submission is approved and published the choice of license cannot be revoked nor made more restrictive but can be changed to a less restrictive license. This does not affect the author's future publishing and relicensing rights. See questions below for more details.


  •  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (CC-BY-SA) - This license provides an ideal balance of protection for the author and freedom for reuse, is well accepted and understood, and has widespread approval by the legal community. Derivative works are allowed, but any reuse must properly acknowledge the original author. Commercial use is permitted. We strongly recommend this license for all content contributed to ScriptSource.

Acceptable alternatives

  •  Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Derivs 3.0 Unported license (CC-BY-ND) - This license shares all the benefits of CC-BY-SA, including redistribution and commercial use, but does not allow derivative works.
  • Other established open content licenses - If the recommended Creative Commons licenses do not fit the contribution, or if the content is already licensed under another open license, we do allow other free and open content licenses to be specified. Details of the license - minimally the name of the license and a link to the full license text - must be provided.

Not recommended, but allowed

  • Restricted licenses - We discourage the use of restricted licenses for content contributed to ScriptSource, but do allow it in some cases. Terms of the license must be provided. Choosing a restricted license may cause a contribution to be rejected.

Software licenses

ScriptSource allows contributors to provide links to relevant software components. Contributors are required to indicate copyright and licensing information for the specific software component in order to most clearly inform visitors to the site. We allow linking to both free/libre/open source software and restricted commercial packages, but may give free software greater visibility and focus.

Fair use

 Fair use,  fair dealing and other  limitations and exceptions to copyright differ between countries and legal systems. ScriptSource does not define these uses for content on this web site. Contributors are responsible for knowing the rules and limitations of these within their legal jurisdictions.

Contributions made under fair use guidelines will generally be rejected in favor of proper, direct licensing from copyright holders. Generally it is far better to operate within the terms of individual content licenses than to make any assumptions regarding fair use or fair dealing. Avoidance of these assumptions also allows for stronger, more reliable reuse through open content licenses.

ScriptSource may, however, accept some contributions that fall within fair use guidelines in certain jurisdictions, but that will be on a case-by-case basis. These decisions will be made with careful regard to the purpose, value and uniqueness of the contribution and the likely intentions of the author. If there is any concern that publication on ScriptSource would go against the intentions of the author the submission will be rejected.


Can I change the license of content I have contributed?

As an author you retain all the rights to your creation. Once a contribution is approved and published on ScriptSource, the choice of license cannot be revoked nor made more restrictive but can be changed to a less restrictive license. That restriction, however, only applies to the material as published on ScriptSource. You can always re-release your content under any other license for publication and distribution elsewhere than ScriptSource. For example, publishing content on ScriptSource does not in any way restrict you from licensing that content for a commercial publication.

What about public domain content?

Public Domain definitions vary across jurisdictions and can be quite complex. ScriptSource does not endorse or use any specific definition, and recommends that content deemed to be in the Public Domain be relicensed upon submission to ScriptSource using the CC-BY-SA license.

Will you be policing license use?

The ScriptSource editors will take swift action to remove submissions that violate ScriptSource policies, but that will be the limitation of any remedial action. Authors and copyright holders are responsible to enforce their own rights. ScriptSource cannot take responsibility for improper reuse of content on the site. See our Editorial Policy and Terms of Service.


If you have feedback, questions or concerns please use our contact form.

Copyright © 2017 SIL International and released under the  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license (CC-BY-SA) unless noted otherwise. Language data includes information from the  Ethnologue. Script information partially from the  ISO 15924 Registration Authority. Some character data from  The Unicode Standard Character Database and locale data from the  Common Locale Data Repository. Used by permission.