I have been developing a database-driven web application with extensive contents. The application is set to release using a GNU GPL v3 license. Whereas the content would be licensed using a Creative Commons license. To provide a brief context, this is an e-learning site, where I provide some kind of learning materials.

Additionally, I am planning to provide a database dump along with the source code. The reason being, one would be able to setup and actually use the application given the contents. I have two questions in this regard:

  1. Should I actually include the database dump along with the source code? If I don't, a user would require to create everything by his own, which is not desirable.
  2. If the above answer is "yes", what license is applicable to the physical file containing the database contents?

Please note that it is not possible to use any other type of licenses for the code and content, and both are to be licensed.

P.S.: In case this question seems off-topic, could you please point to a more relevant site?

  • Hi, AskPatents is an online service in Q&A format where users help find prior art on US Patent Applications and US Patents and ask questions about the US Patent process. Questions about software licenses are are generally outside the scope of Ask Patents. Please see faq for more information about which topics are on topic for Ask Patents. Sorry for any confusion. Jan 16, 2014 at 18:11
  • The closest site might be programmers.Stackexchange.com Jan 16, 2014 at 18:18
  • Couldn't you just distribute both separately? Someone may want to use your application but provide its own content. And someone may want the content but create its own application over it. Plus, both may change at different rate and for different reason. By distributing both separately, you can choose an appropriate licence for each. Jan 16, 2014 at 18:35
  • @LaurentBourgault-Roy Do you mean excluding the database dump from the source code, and distributing it separately after adding a CC license to it?
    – Barun
    Jan 16, 2014 at 19:08
  • 1
    Yes make the database dump and distribute it with the code. If the sql is how you are distributing the content and you want the content to be CC then make it CC. Sql data is not really code (you could make a different argument about the ddl) so the whole "CC is not for code" issue does not apply.
    – Elin
    Jan 17, 2014 at 6:33

1 Answer 1


If you can (re-)build the application without the database dump, then there is no requirement to distribute the dump along with the source code.

Depending on the language that your application is written in, I would provide 2 or 3 downloadable packages:

  1. A package with the application itself. This contains the application in the form used to execute the application, which would be a binary format if it is written in a non-scripting language. This package will be released with the GPL license.
  2. A package with the dump of the database. This package should not be strictly needed to use the application, but might make it easier to get it up and running. As the database dump is noting more than a representation of the content, this package should use the CC license of the content.
  3. A package with the source code of the application. This package is only needed in the first package contains binaries and is intended for those users that might want to make modifications to the application. This package also uses the GPL license.

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