Technical Information Service

Download our App

App Store Google Play Store

Advanced Search

Practical Answers Copyright Statement

The aim of the Practical Action technical information service is to make information on appropriate technologies freely available. By so doing we aim to encourage participatory approaches to tackling poverty.

The license grants free access to the content in the same sense as free software is licensed freely. The content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the original source whether it is Practical Action or another. Therefore the information will remain free and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which serve to ensure that freedom.

To fulfil the above goals, the text contained within Practical Answers (The technical information service of Practical Action) is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA licence. The full text of this license is at Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Any exceptions or additional restrictions to this general licence will be clearly stated for those individual cases. Attribution and license/copyright for any images is excluded from the CC BY-SA licence and will be stated individually.

Permission is granted:

  • to share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to remix — to adapt the work
  • to make commercial use of the work


With the understanding that:

  • Waiver — any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
  • Public Domain — where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
  • Other Rights — in no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:
    • Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations;
    • The author's moral rights;
    • Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.
  • Notice — for any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License web page.


The text of the Creative Commons is the only legally binding document; the following is a Practical Action interpretation of Creative Commons: the rights and obligations of users and contributors.

IMPORTANT: before using the content, first read the Users' rights and obligations section below and then read the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Users' rights and obligations
If you want to use materials from Practical Answers in your own books/articles/web sites or other publications, you can do so, but you have to follow CC BY-SA, which entails the following:

  • your materials in turn have to be licensed under CC BY-SA,
  • you must acknowledge the authorship of the article, and
  • you must permits others to distribute derivative works only under the same license or one compatible with the one that governs the licensor's work.
If you are simply duplicating an article, the latter two obligations can be fulfilled by providing a conspicuous direct link back to the article hosted on this website.

If you create a derivative version by changing or adding content, you need to both acknowledge authorship and provide access to a transparent copy of the new text.

Example notice
An example notice, which complies correctly with the CC BY-SA, for an article that uses the Practical Action Technical Brief Cashew Nut Processing might read as follows:

This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. It uses material from the Practical Action’s Technical Brief Cashew Nut Processing ("Cashew Nut Processing" and the relevant URL must of course be substituted accordingly.)

Alternatively you can distribute your copy of Cashew Nut Processing along with a copy of the CC-by-sa (as explained in the text) and list at least five (or all if less than five) principal authors on the title page (or top of the document).

Fair use materials and special requirements
Occasionally, our technical information may include images, sounds, or text quotes used under the "fair use" doctrine. In this case, the material will be identified as from an external source. However, what is fair for us to use may not be fair for your intended use of the media.

For example, if we include an image under fair use, you must ensure that your use of the article also qualifies for fair use (this might not be the case, for example, if you were using a forum article for a commercial use that would otherwise be allowed by the CC).

Practical Action may use some text under licenses compatible with the CC but may require additional terms that are not required for original text (such as including Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts, or Back-Cover Texts). When using these materials, those invariant sections have to be included verbatim.

Contributors' rights and obligations
If you contribute material, you thereby license it to the public under the CC (with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). In order to contribute, you therefore must be in a position to grant this license, which means that either you own the copyright to the material, for instance because you produced it yourself, or you acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under CC, for instance because the material is in the public domain or is itself published under CC.

In the first case, you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the CC license for the versions you placed here: that material will remain under CC forever. In the second case, if you incorporate external CC materials, as a requirement of the CC, you need to acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location of the original copy. If the original copy required invariant sections, you have to incorporate those into the document; it is however very desirable to replace CC texts with invariant sections by original content without invariant sections whenever possible.

Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is perfectly legal to read an article, book or other work, reformulate it in your own words, and then use it.

Linking to copyrighted works
Linking to copyrighted works is usually not a problem, as long as you have made a reasonable effort to determine that the page in question is not violating someone else's copyright. If it is, please do not link to the page. Whether such a link is contributory infringement is currently being debated in the courts, but in any case, linking to a site that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on us.

If you find a copyright infringement
It is not the job of Practical Action or our forum users to police every comment or discussion for possible copyright infringement, but if you suspect one, you should at the very least bring up the issue as a comment on that page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. The most helpful piece of information you can provide is a URL or other reference to what you believe may be the source of the text.
Some cases will be false alarms. For example, if the contributor was in fact the author of the text that is published elsewhere under different terms that does not affect their right to post it here under the CC. Also, sometimes you will find text elsewhere on the Web that was copied from our site. In both of these cases, it is a good idea to make a note on the page to discourage such false alarms in the future.

If some of the content really is an infringement, then the infringing content should be removed, and a note to that effect should be made in the comments section of the page, along with the original source. If the author's permission is obtained later, the text can be restored.

In extreme cases of contributors continuing to post copyrighted material after appropriate warnings, such users may be blocked from editing.

External links and references
This section uses material from:
Hedon Copyright
Wikipedia policy "Copyrights"


Practical Answers Disclaimer / Liability 

Use of the website and the facilities thereon, and any material or information obtained from this website is at your own risk, and Practical Action hereby expressly disclaims, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, all warranties, expressed or implied, of any kind whatsoever including but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and infringement.

In addition, Practical Action shall not be responsible for the failure of performance of this website and/or the software used thereon; the loss of data or services resulting from delays, non-deliveries, or service interruption; the accuracy, quality or nature of information obtained through its services; nor the consequences arising from or related to any viruses transmitted through its servers, or any liability, costs, loss of profits or consequential losses arising from your use of, or inability to access this Website.

In relation to Content uploaded by users, Practical Action shall not be responsible for any such Content posted by users in chat rooms or other community areas. All such Content whether expressed as opinions, statements or recommendations, are those of users expressing such views and are not those Practical Action.

Notwithstanding any other provision in these Terms and Conditions, nothing herein shall limit your rights as a consumer under English law. Practical Action will not be liable, in contract, tort (including, without limitation, negligence), pre-contract or other representations (other than fraudulent misrepresentations) or otherwise out of or in connection with the Website, or products or services offered on the Website, whether by Practical Action on its behalf, for:

(a) any economic losses (including without limitation loss of revenues, profits, contracts, business or anticipated savings); or
(b) any loss of goodwill or reputation; or
(c) any special or indirect or consequential losses;

in any case whether or not such losses were within the contemplation of either party at the date on which the event giving rise to the loss occurred. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall exclude or limit Practical Action's liability for death or personal injury resulting from the negligence of Practical Action or that of its servants, agents or employees. You agree to indemnify Practical Action in respect of any liability or any costs, loss of profits, loss of data, or consequential losses arising from a breach by you of any of the terms of this agreement, or arising out of your use of any of the Practical Action Sites.


We use cookies to provide a consistent user experience and analyse how to improve our sites