Neil Sloane’s invaluable OEIS has just launched its new page, featuring among other things a wiki and a backend that allows the encylopedia to grow with much less personal supervision from Sloane himself. But not all the changes are welcome: William Stein points out the new end-user licensing agreement, which is much more restrictive than previously. Here’s what William posted to the number theory listserv:
…there are now new and very significant restrictions on using OEIS content:
“To make copies, distribute, make Adaptations and make copies of and
distribute the Adaptations, of no more than 5% of the OEIS Content”.
This is in sharp contrast to how OEIS was before, where, e.g., there
was a file http://oeis.org/stripped.gz that contained the sequences
themselves. (This matters to me, since we make them available for
Sage, with a nice interface.) This was an incredibly useful tool,
since it meant that even without internet access (or in a secure
closed network), one could do searches of OEIS, which is in my opinion
a critical research tool that was built partly by the effort of the
community (you). Distribution of this stripped.gz file now appears
to be illegal.
I think the recent direction OEIS is going in is unfortunate. It’s
the exact opposite of how, e.g., Wikipedia operates. Anybody can
mirror Wikipedia content, there is a complete 6GB tarball you can
download that contains all article, etc.
So before signing up for an account, and signing away the rights to
all data or sequences you’ve submitted, please consider the above.
I will not be registering or contributing to OEIS until the license changes.