Small Wars Journal

Rights & Permissions

This page addresses the re-use of original SWJ Works by others. If that’s not your target, you may want to:

  • For other general information, look at our Terms of Use
  • If you are a copyright owner and fell we are using your material inappropriately, please contact us

If you really are here because you want to find out how to re-use original SWJ Works, keep reading this page. Thanks for your interest in the material and in doing it right with regard to copyrights and such.

Cutting to the chase for commercial publishers -- contact us to arrange for paid use and a specific grant of permission. We are willing to work with your reasonable terms and typical fees. Please propose some and let’s make it a simple transaction.

For most other would-be rights seekers -- we are big fans of the Small Wars community getting better by freely exchanging information. That’s why we exist in the first place. We practice what we preach by providing a generous Creative Commons license to allow other good folks like us to go forth and do even more great things with original SWJ Works. Original SWJ Works are copyrighted by Small Wars Foundation and licensed for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical-Share Alike 3.0 license.  All other rights are reserved.You may view a human-readable summary or the Legal Code (full license).

We find that most inquiries we receive are for simple reprint rights we have already granted via that license. Review the license details at the links for the specifics. In general, if your use of the material will be:

  • Attributed, and
  • Shared Alike, i.e. republished under the same Creative Commons license that we use, and
  • Non-commercial....

….then you are probably well taken care of by that license and just need to wade through its particulars.

Here are the issues we most often encounter, and how to address them:


This is generally pretty easy to accomplish. Industry standard attribution is acceptable. To really ace this, we ask that you:

  • Prominently credit the works’ authors and its original title.
  • Prominently and appropriately cite the works’ appearance in Small Wars Journal
  • In print versions, provide the text
  • In online or electronic versions, provide a functioning hyperlink to Small Wars Journal and/or a relevant subordinate page where practicable.
  • Do NOT in any way suggest our endorsement of you or your use of the work, unless we have explicitly provided a specific endorsement.
  • Do us the extra favor of letting us know where and how you used or will use the material by sending us a note.

A sample citation that helps meet those requirements is:

[Title] by [Author(s)] is reprinted from Small Wars Journal per the Creative Commons license granted upon its <link to individual article page>original publication</link>.

Share Alike

Perhaps you are already publishing everything under a Creative Commons license. Good for you. On behalf of the community, thanks.

If not, or if you are but you are using a different style of CC license, we encourage you to consider broadening up access to your stuff for the community; however, you don’t need to change everything just to use our stuff. It is acceptable to us that  you explicitly add the CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 terms to your particular usage of SWJ works within your other work. That’s easy to do, see the links cited earlier for Creative Commons information. Note this applies to any derivative works as well as verbatim re-use.


Under the license, you may not use the material for commercial purposes. Usually that’s pretty clear and you know who you are. Here’s what Creative Commons has to say about commercial purposes.

Usage will vary and will depend on the specifics of the situation and the intentions of the user. We cannot and will not provide you a safe harbor statement that your use in non-commercial. We can suggest several situations that we have seen that tend to indicate your use is commercial:

  • You typically pay author fees.
  • You generate significant revenue through distribution, perhaps by requiring users to pay for prints/access or by significant circulation-based advertising revenue in excess of incidental online banner ads.
  • You are primarily in the publishing business rather than in the warfighting & governance business.

Simply put, if you are making money from the use of our work, we expect some of it. The Creative Commons license does not apply. Contact us to arrange for paid use and a specific grant of permission. We are willing to work with your reasonable terms and fees. Please propose some and let’s make it a simple transaction. By the way, we share royalties that we collect with the original authors, but that’s our business and we will take care of them on the back end.

Simply Confused

We get this a lot.

See again the non-commercial terms. If your use is commercial, you probably know it so follow the process for paid rights. We'll probably know it, too, when we discover the infringement, but we don’t think it’s a violation of that license when a junior officer bundles an SWJ article into a PME reader reproduced on a government copier and freely distributed to their team. Re-read the license at the earlier links, double check the attribution and share alike terms, and press on.

If you are still confused, chances still are you’re an action officer or curriculum developer looking for gold-plated, belt & suspenders top cover to CYA or to satisfy a boss or a functionary gatekeeper somewhere.  Re-read the license terms. We bet you can live by them. Point your boss or publishing clerk at the license, have them read it, and if they still want more documentation, have their credit card handy. To reduce our own paperwork and workload, we only grant explicit permissions to paying customers, who should probably only be paying when the terms of our Creative Commons license do not apply.