CIPPIC Licensing Information Project
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CLIPol (the CIPPIC Licensing Information Project for Open Licences)

CLIPol is a web platform designed to serve useful information about open data licences, open content licences, and open source software. It consists of:

  • a database of machine-readable information on the rights, restrictions and obligations in different licences;

  • an API for retrieving this information;

  • a web-accessible site for viewing this information in a user-friendly way (avoiding legalese); and

  • a set of web apps built on top of this information (currently consisting of a compatibility-checking tool and a text-comparison tool).

The project is maintained by the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, a public interest technology law clinic at the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa.

Getting Started

The easiest way to use CLIPol is to visit our website at! We also have an API for retrieving our data in JSON format, which you can find further information about at

Contributing to the Database

The easiest way to add new licences or fix any erroneous data is to submit changes through the forms on our website. On the rightmost tab of the webpage for any licence, you'll see an “Edit” tab to make changes. To add a new licence, open

Contributing to the Software

If you wish to contribute to development, whether to submit a fix or add a tool, simply pull this git repository and have at the Rails code!

If you are running OS X, you will need the [GNU Scientific Library (GSL)](, which you can install with Homebrew:

brew install gsl

Then, install the app's dependencies:


The repository contains a recent copy of the database stored using the yaml_db gem. You can thus instantiate a populated database with:

bundle exec rake db:create
bundle exec rake db:schema:load
bundle exec rake db:data:load


If deploying to Heroku:

heroku create
heroku config:set BUILDPACK_URL=
heroku config:set DEVISE_SECRET_KEY=`bundle exec rake secret`
heroku addons:create heroku-postgresql:hobby-dev
git push heroku master
heroku ps:scale web=1
heroku run rake db:schema:load
heroku run rake db:data:load


All files in this repository ( are licensed under a BSD License. See the licence.txt for further details.

In addition, the data (everything accessible in JSON format through the web API, as well as the YAML database file) is licenced under CC0 1.0 Universal.


  • This project would not have been possible without the generous financial support of GeoConnections, a national collaborative initiative led by National Resources Canada. GeoConnections supports the integration and use of Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI), an on-line resource that improves the sharing, access and use of open geospatial information.

  • A big thank-you to James McKinney for his founding work on the licence text comparison tool.


  • Please freel free to contact the project lead, Kent Mewhort (, with any comments or questions. For bug reports, preferably raise them directly through Github.