Reusing our materials (licensing and permissions)

Unlike most publishers, we let you make your own copies of our material for free, under certain circumstances. So, in certain special cases, you can reuse or share our books without asking for our permission.

If you follow these three simple rules, you can re-use or copy our books without asking for permission:

  • Each copy must say where it came from: Bettercare, including the bettercare.co.za web address.
  • You can’t change anything. You must reuse or copy the books as-is. This protects us and our authors from liability, should others’ changes be in any way dangerous or harmful.
  • You cannot reuse or copy them for a money-making activity. This is to protect our financial sustainability. There is more detail about this below.

If you’re unsure, just ask us, especially if you represent an institution. We will get back to you very quickly.

Legally speaking, our content carries a Creative Commons Attribution, No-Derivatives, Non-Commercial licence. (This does not include material owned by others, where we’ve noted another copyright owner in the books).

Why do we use these rules?

Conventionally, all publishers’ books carry an All Rights Reserved licence. This means you can’t reuse their content or make copies at all without the publisher’s permission. We believe that is too restrictive: we want our materials to be more accessible and share-able, and asking for and giving permission for every re-use is a lot of work. At the same time, we have to protect our partners’ interests and our own sustainability.

Luckily, an international community of legal experts has developed some standard rules that we can use to make our jobs simpler. These rules are called ‘Creative Commons licences‘. They are legally enforceable in almost every country in the world.

We use a no-derivatives licence to prevent others from changing our books when they share them. This protects our authors from liability (for instance if someone makes a change to our material that results in harm), and protects our partner organisations from being associated with material they have not endorsed. Changes that are not allowed without permission include using only excerpts (e.g. one chapter without the surrounding chapters) and translating into other languages.

We use a non-commercial licence to protect our own financial sustainability. You may share our work as long as you are not doing so in a money-making activity. To help explain what we mean, here are some examples:

  • If you’re a student and you want to study from a book of ours, you may make yourself a free copy. You are not making money from it. You may also give your friend a free copy to help her out, if you do not charge her a fee.
  • If you work at a university, you may not give copies of our books to your students. A university charges students fees, so this would be part of a money-making activity. Speak to us about the ways we make our books accessible for students.
  • If you work for a hospital, you may not give your staff free copies for training purposes. Improving staff knowledge and skills is partly how a hospital makes money. All hospitals have budgets for purchasing training materials, and reducing normal costs by copying training materials for free is the same as making money from them. Speak to us about fitting our materials into your training-materials budget.
  • If you run an NGO that enables volunteer health workers, you may give them free copies of our books. Neither you nor they make money from that. However, if you receive funding for your project in part because you provide Bettercare books, you may not make free copies, because you are now doing so in a money-making activity. Rather include the cost of the books in your funding budget.

As a rule of thumb: if you receive money partly because you provided someone with material from a Bettercare book, you can’t do so without our permission. Just ask us for permission: we will quickly either grant it for free or ask you to pay us a small licence fee. While it takes more effort to make your own copies under licence than to buy finished books from us, it generally works out much cheaper.

Institutional licensing

Institutions (such as universities and hospitals) can purchase institutional licenses for the unlimited use of our content, including use on digital devices, your intranet and photocopying. For institutions with large numbers of students or staff, this is the most cost-effective way to provide great books to everyone. Every institution is different, so please contact us directly to discuss your institutional licence.