Generous Licensing and Free eBooks

A brief note

I’m blown away by the generosity embodied by the loose licensing of the various O’Reilly books I reference. Only in technology, the part of the economy that gave rise to Open Source, does one find this spirit of openness, sharing, and collaboration. In many cases, the texts themselves are actually hosted online and free to access by anyone.

As someone committed learning the world of data as quickly as possible, I feel liberated and empowered by such loose policies (in particular, to blog my heart out, without too much concern about stepping on anyone’s toes). I’m very grateful to the authors and to O’Reilly Media for facilitating learning in such a direct manner.

Typical O’Reilly Code Use Guidelines

The following is taken from pages 2 and 3 of A Whirlwind Tour of Python, a free ebook written by Jake VanderPlas and published by O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Supplemental material (code examples, IPython notebooks, etc.) is available for download at

This book is here to help you get your job done. In general, if example code is offered with this book, you may use it in your programs and documentation. You do not need to contact us for permission unless you’re reproducing a significant portion of the code. For example, writing a program that uses several chunks of code from this book does not require permission. Selling or distributing a CD-ROM of examples from O’Reilly books does require permission.

Answering a question by citing this book and quoting example code does not require permission. Incorporating a significant amount of example code from this book into your product’s documentation does require permission.

We appreciate, but do not require, attribution. An attribution usually includes the title, author, publisher, and ISBN. For example: “A Whirlwind Tour of Python by Jake VanderPlas (O’Reilly). Copyright 2016 O’Reilly Media, Inc., 978-1-491-96465-1.”

If you feel your use of code examples falls outside fair use or the permission given above, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Other O’Reilly titles with similar loose licensing:

Content for this article is taken from:

A Whirlwind Tour of Python by Jake VanderPlas (O’Reilly). Copyright 2016 O-Reilly Media, Inc., 978-1-491-96465-1. Get it (free!) here.