Friends of the SEP Society
Copyright Notice

Last modified: April 23, 2009

The Metaphysics Research Lab at Stanford University is the publisher of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (“SEP”) and the sponsor of the Friends of the SEP Society (“Society”). As such, the Metaphysics Research Lab distributes SEP entries: (1) as electronic files in HTML format through the website (and through our authorized mirror sites), and (2) as electronic files in PDF format to members of the Society through the website In what follows, we distinguish the electronic files (in HTML or PDF formats) distributed through these websites from printed versions of these files. We refer to the electronic files in PDF format as “PDF versions” or “electronic PDF files”. The following copyright policies apply to the PDF versions distributed by the Society.

  1. Copyright License Agreement. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Copyright Notice specifies that authors grant to the Metaphysics Research Lab at Stanford University a perpetual, exclusive, worldwide license to copy, distribute, transmit and publish their entries via the Internet and World Wide Web, or via any future technologies or media that develop to supplement or replace the Internet or World Wide Web. The Metaphysics Research Lab therefore holds an exclusive license to copy, distribute, and transmit the PDF versions of SEP entries via the Internet (including, but not limited to, the World Wide Web). Members agree to act so as not to contravene this license.

  2. Distribution Restrictions. The PDF versions of SEP entries distributed by the Society are solely for the fair use of Society members. Unauthorized distribution is prohibited. Members agree not to make available or distribute the PDF versions of SEP entries electronically (over the Internet, World Wide Web, or via other electronic technologies) to other individuals. For example, members may not place the PDF versions of SEP entries on a web server for delivery over the World Wide Web to others and may not transmit them via email to any email address other than their own.

  3. Fair Use. Members have the right to fair use of the PDF versions acquired through membership in the Society. This includes the right to make electronic copies for their other electronic devices, to print and retain their PDFs for their own use, etc. Members should note that although SEP authors grant the Metaphysics Research Lab an exclusive license to publish their entries on the Internet (as described above), authors retain the copyright to their entries. This copyright applies to printed copies of their entries, including printouts of PDF versions, and is subject to fair use. So whereas a member may make a paper printout of PDF versions for their own use, they should secure the permission of the authors before distributing such printouts in course readers, etc. We recommend that members contact authors at the email addresses listed at the end of every entry to secure such permission.

  4. Tampering Restrictions. Members agree not to remove, obscure, or alter any proprietary rights notices (including copyright or other notices) which are included on the PDF versions.

  5. Changes to Copyright Notice. Changes to this Copyright Notice may be put into effect from time to time. We anticipate that such changes will be minor, i.e., will not signficantly affect or reduce member rights. Such minor changes will be posted on the Society's web page ( and the effective date posted at the top of this Copyright Notice will be changed accordingly. You will be notified by email should there be any changes to this Terms of Service that significantly affect or reduce your rights or expectations. The Society incurs no obligation to contact those members with email addresses that have become non-functional.

If you have any questions about this policy, you may contact us through our website or write to us at the following address:

Friends of the SEP Society
c/o Metaphysics Research Lab
202 Cordura Hall
Stanford University
210 Panama Street
Stanford, CA 94305-4115
Alleged abuses of this Copyright Notice may be reported by clicking on the following link: Abuse Report.