I want to continue working on the research I used to work on when I was in school. The thing is that I am not a student anymore, and I also do not work for the company that works on the research project I used to work on. It used to work on the research project by myself while I was in school (a little help from professors), meaning I can probably work/project on it by myself.

My question is that since I am not in school anymore, do I need to concern the license issue as commercial? All I want to do is do my personal/individual research project and submit a work to academic purpose, such as journal or conference. I see some software or programming library I am using say "Acedemy" or "Commercial", and since this is for the academic purpose, I am not so sure which one I need to follow.

  • In the absence of any specific information, this can only be a solicitation of opinion.
    – 410 gone
    Oct 15, 2013 at 16:59
  • @EnergyNumbers yet, the answers currently given are not opinionative… I think it's a valid (and common) question, even though there is no single definitive answer
    – F'x
    Oct 15, 2013 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


You need to read the exact terms of the licenses, and see what they call “academic” or “commercial”. There is no general definition, these types of licenses depend entirely on the software publisher.


In adddition to @F'x's point:
As your situation is different from both the usual academic and the usual commercial situations, maybe you could email the developer/author/maintainer of the library.

Whatever the license says, software licenses are almost always non-exclusive*. That means whoever holds the copyright to the software can grant you another license that covers your use of the library. This can be as easy as an email saying "go ahead and use it under the terms of the academic license" and would give both sides legal certainty.

* Or at least, software with exclusive license usually doesn't make its way legally into the public. Although one could think of an exclusive license granted to the public...

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