This was an impression of Z. Š. transferred from copyright.
While the Lab is free to use, we follow the usual practices of dealing with the original work of others, like citing original research and so on. The Lab cites, links and uses the work of others, following established practices for non-commercial and scientific uses. Some discussion of these issues is at General Discussion.
The ideology of most of the principal contributors of the Lab is that scientific results should be freely distributed and fairly acknowledged. We try to foster this by our own example and release of our own contributions. We encourage finding free or inexpensive sources, alternative versions and other material which will enhance the scope of work available to as many interested people as possible.
While providing easier access to material in the Lab might seem to some commercial publishers to be in competition to them, we take into account that many users of Lab have the access to commercial resources, and we do often also make detailed and correct links or hints to the latter. This way, as a byproduct, our bibliographies in the Lab also provide a favor to commercial publishers, with hopefully the primary satisfaction of their users. We do not consider our citations as an advertisement for the publisher, but as a neutral information for end users.
Despite our ideology, we do not attempt any “revolution” nor do we intend to break the law. We try to stretch the freedom of distribution of scientific work as much as possible, but without getting into the risks of compromising our effort or making our links and resources unstable and insecure. Namely, providing illegal links would make them subject to future removal, which would make the resources just temporary and any link and document structure related to such links ephemeral.
The fact that we abide by the rules does not mean that we support their ideology. While we denounce plagiarism, and support credit for authors, most of the contributors consider the system of journals, which get the work of authors for free and then charge for access, immoral and support alternatives to the present system. Also, we consider the present time extent of author’s commercial rights of typically 75 years after publication and/or 25 after death (in some countries the maximum of the two, so it may be over 75 after the death of the author, if the book is published about the date of death of the author, and in some countries even longer!), rather extreme for the creative heritage of humanity to develop optimally and beneficially for our culture, or even to benefit the very authors themselves. We also distinguish strongly between the rights of the authors and of their one-time publishers, which often blackmail the former in the scientific publication market.
We sharply distinguish between the usage of work of others for personal and scientific issues from commercial usage. Moreover, we consider that intellectual texts can be studied in depth by their users, including translation for personal use, reverse-engineering (e.g., in the case of software), analysis by machine, and use as a data for computer experiments. If one has a legal access to a source of information, its reading includes reading by any level of intelligence and data analysis, human or machine.
This was one proposal I made of a general statement:
The text in Lab is an author work which authors dispose in public domain for unlimited free usage subject to the usual standards of citation in academic community.
The text in Lab which is based on other works will also keep the standards of citation of its sources and respect the limitations on usage the authors of the sources may require.
Anybody copying parts of the material from Lab can not cause further restrictions to its usage than those which are implied by general standards of academic fairness and academic standard of authorship.
See also nForum: restriction to usage