I didn’t mean to delete the whole original post when I last edited it… It was a link to a Memrise course but that is no longer available. Now this is mainly a discussion about Memrise courses based upon copyrighted material such as SSIW.

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Thanks for posting this here - it’s clear from the fact that you’ve posted on the forum that you’re intending to do something positive with this.

It raises some interesting and difficult issues for us - I’d be very interested in feedback from the community about them.

1 - the use of one of our company logos is problematic - it gives the impression that we’ve officially sanctioned the export of our content to Memrise, which isn’t the case.

2 - the export of Course 1 in particular is also complicated. We’ve built this course specifically to encourage people to focus much, much more than usual on listening and speaking - so putting our content into a text-based system like Memrise will, I think, encourage more people not to take notice of our guidelines about avoiding reading for as long as possible.

3 - you’ve also highlighted the fact (of which I wasn’t previously aware!) that there are a few other ‘courses’ on Memrise which use our material and our name - including a fair bit of stuff from Course 3, which of course is behind our paywall - so while that’s less of a problem in terms of triggering early reading, it raises some questions about the impact on our sustainability as a company.

My main concerns would be that:

  • people who see the course on Memrise understand that it is not an official part of SSiW

  • people who see the course on Memrise understand our recommendations about not reading initially

  • people using SSiW otherwise don’t get the impression that we don’t really mean what we say about avoiding early reading

  • we don’t end up with people thinking that they’ve got access to our content, and therefore have no reason to consider subscribing to SSiW

I’d be very grateful for any ideas about the best way to go about solving these issues - if we have a detailed discussion in here, it might give us a good way to go about it (without having to go down the time, life and soul-draining process we’ve had to do with unauthorised content on YouTube)… :sunny:


To my mind, there are both positives and negatives to allowing (or not objecting to) stuff being posted to Memrise. If it gets people from Memrise to SSiW where they wouldn’t otherwise have landed, that seems like a potential for a big plus (both for SSiW, and for the learners who stumble across the Right Way to be learning ;)). I also think that, despite doing the reading early being counter to SSiWness, learning to read eventually is quite desirable, and for someone who has learned through SSi, learning to read/write already-learned words seems like a sensible jumpstart to me. Equally, I think all the above concerns are quite valid.

I think I’d suggest some text like (but better wordsmithed than) “This is only going to work if you use this ​after​ doing the SSiW audio course, which you can (and should!) get here: …. You can read more about the SSiW method and why this is the case here: …” would be the best compromise here between addressing concerns about learning the Wrong Way, and not coming back to SSi having found it.

For the unofficialness, I wonder if a new logo could be produced that looks SSiWish, but is clearly unofficial (Stamping a big UNOFFICIAL over the standard logo isn’t exactly going to look nice the way I’d do it, but something that both ties together the visual identity (good, I think) while making it clear this isn’t actually SSiW-run would be good for everyone. Also some text about it being community-provided or somesuch.

So I think what I’ve essentially done there is tried to delegate writing a couple of blocks of text to @Aran, in the hope that he doesn’t remember that I can’t do that :smile:

Now, for the case of the paywall content, that’s a bit more complicated, and I’m not sure I’m half as happy at the thought of that being freely available on Memrise. Sure, anyone in their right mind would come to SSi and do it properly, so it might not matter, but … More tricky.


I think it might be not solved but dealt with by writing a disclaimer on the official SSI website, stating that Memrise sets have nothing to do with the original course, are not the official material and are not advisable at the Course 1 stage. But I don’t really think it can be controlled effectively. Internet is the land of liberty, where everyone is free to invent as many obstacles to his language learning as he pleases.

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And oposite. However I always saw any use of SSi material other way publicly then with SSi VERY problematic and, (sorry to say this as quite some might hold grudges upon me (AGAIN)) unfair. You can’t just take some material which was made with a lot of effort and research to use it your own way publicly. Well, this is my opinion which isn’t neccessarily one would agree with at all and I might be even ticked off by @aran but SSi is a company and some rules have to be respected though. We already have a lot of freedom to privately use the course as suits to us so doing something publicly from it is just not fair in deed. One could at least ask SSi staff before doing anything publicly wherever, not just on Memrise.

I believe disclamer on Memrise at least has to be put on too unless negotiated differently. But as said, this is only my opinion again. Well, but Aran said it all already …


Sets on Memrise are created by users and maybe not everyone will bother putting a disclaimer.

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Agreed, but Mamrise is a company too, not just a website and Internet isn’t such a freebie as one would seam and also can be very controlled if one wants. But what I wanted to say is that those who use some material could be so fair not to use it publicly in whatever aid at another company which Memrise is.

If we every day claim how happy we are with SSi, how we’re devoted to it and what’s more to it then we should maybe show some loyalty too in order not to use their material the way written in original post. We have to be aware masses could see and use the material and migh this for go past SSi not even wanting to peer in and start one course here what, by my opinion, would qutie dismiss the work @aran, @Iestyn and the other members of staff are doing.

And of course, again, this is my opinion only, but I’m very sensitive to such things even if I don’t own my own company or something like that. One thing is helping others to learn a new language and the other is in a way dismissing the other’s work.

And for the loyalty: There are many possibilities of making courses by members elswhere, even with DuoLingo but I only want to see my language course to be created here. (and it’s not snobbery talking but my heart (to make things clear))


I don’t think there’s a need for us to point people at Memrise courses from the main site - I also think that (while I respect and understand Tatjana’s feelings) it’s important for us to remember that the people who set up Memrise courses are very likely to have positive intentions.

But it is a little complex. Certainly some kind of regular, same-each-time official disclaimer in the course description would help - that seems like one of the possible routes forward.

I’m interested in hearing from as many different people as possible on this - I want to have the clearest view possible of the community’s needs/wants - I’m sure there’s plenty of common ground for us all… :sunny:


I never doubted that but, since I work in media sphers of proffession (despite I’m not directly attached to it) I’m very sensitive about copyrights, publishings, using other materials and what’s more to it.

Thsnk you but those are not just feelings but also facts. …

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Oh, I haven’t thought about that! Silly me.

I don’t know anything about Memrise, but having a quick look at this, I’m seeing the word “level” cropping up, and the “level” seems to advance with the lessons. I assume this use of “level” is particular to Memrise, but it’s unfortunate, since the new style courses of SSiW use the word “Level” in a completely different way. I can see confusion arising. I’m already confused, although perhaps someone experienced in the ways of Memrise would not be.

BTW, there seems to be a mistake in Gwers 17. “Dan ni’n” does not mean “we have”.
(Should there have been a “wedi” there? (without the " 'n ")

@Aran has been very polite & restrained. But while I am hardly the most legalistic person here by a long way probably, there does seem to be an issue of copyright to consider, even with the Beginner level stuff which has always been freely available. Freely available for personal use, yes, but not to publish.

Of course we are not talking about the audio here, which is where most of the original effort goes in, and the lesson summaries were only ever a check-list of new words and structures introduced. Although it was never the intention that people should use these as anything but something to check their hearing of the audio, there has never been anything to stop people using the text in whatever way they wanted - in private. This does not mean they were free to publish it as part of another language-learning method which appears to be quite different to SSiW in philosophy.

It would seem to be strange if SSiW were seen to endorse such a method to be used with its own material.

On the whole though, I pretty much agree with everything that @wondersheep has written.


Apart from questions of legality and ownership, I don’t actually see the point of a memrise course for SSiW vocabulary. The SSiW system intentionally keeps the vocabulary constrained so that most students really should be able to pick it up just in the normal course of doing the lessons. I feel like actively studying a vocab list in this case is really missing the point.

That said, there are already lots of memrise courses with entry-level sorts of content that can complement the SSiW lessons without borrowing or infringing.


Indeed. Plenty of ways to pick up vocabulary outside SSiW without basing another course around the vocabulary in SSiW.
If you are going you use other sources, including reading, (as I did, and found it helpful alongside the marvellous, head and shoulders above anything else for what it is doing course that is SSiW), I would have thought a change and therefore increase in vocabulary would be a good thing!

I can’t see past the first page of memrise as not logged into it, but the important thing is it is Aran’s work and ideas, so even if things are made freely available by him, it is only polite and moral to ask before using it elsewhere or altering it and doing so. Even if you think you are doing a good thing (and opinions will differ widely over what they are!)
(And that is without needing to consider any legal position.)


I think people should refrain from using the SSiW name on Memrise. It is not put out by SSiW. You have every right to ask people of this. You’ve worked very hard on this material. I tried Memrise but it didn’t do anything for me. I did not use SSiW anywhere in the name or description and I kept it private.


Going through the whole topic one more time and checking (not just the course suggested by author of the topic here but their profile on Memrise aswell) the things didn’t moove anywhere since this topic started. If I’d be the author of those two courses (one is made from SSiW’s material and one is from DuoLingo’s one) I’d rather first of all remove the logos (both are of those originals not even a bit altered) what means only copyrighted material was used for creating the course. And the course should at least have a different name. If nothing happens according to what we’ve discussed here, I’m afraid @aran you’d best reconsidder going “YouTub like” way no matter what positive intentions author has had. No matter what you say, I still think this is kind of dismissing one’s work the least. And, as @owainlurch says, one should at least be polite enough to ask before doing something at all.


I think I’m with @tatjana here. At the very least, it’s disrespectful to publish another’s work elsewhere without permission. Not to mention the fact that it’s potentially damaging to the reputation of SSIW if it contains erroneous content and appears to contradict the recommendations laid out here. As good as the author’s intentions probably were, they really should have run this by @aran before publishing anything.


I am a great fan of Memrise as often stated elsewhere. I’ve used it for more than 4 years, from it’s ‘beta’ days. Courses do sometimes just vanish for copyright issues and it appears that Memrise is very sensitive to the issue. Having said that, there is nothing to be done about private, that is unpublished courses, of which I have several.

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Yah, but this one looks perfectly public, since it’s seen in the profile when you visit it. We all know that private courses are not visible on one’s public profile. Making course private would also help but it stops helping the moment when that particular user starts to invite people to use it. I understand private courses to be those one you create for your own aid and not to be used by other users.

And yes, I would be certain that at Mamrise are sensitive to copyrights because they, as I said, aren’t just the site, they’re a company with big plans for the future and, those who use Memrise or are their PRO members, know that their last project is really big one - doing video wordbook.

Well, but I believe it isn’t all about the copyrights here as much as it is about the respect of one’s work, at least what concerns me.

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I agree with you. People might be taking the SSiW material with good intent but I do not like the thought of anything being done that undermines an incentive for others to subscribe to SSiW.

SSiW need those subscribers to survive so that we can all benefit from the wonderful services that SSi provides.

This is a thorny problem but one that needs taking care of - and sensitively to avoid losing the moral high ground. SSiWs other great asset is its reputation for integrity and fairness.

I apologise for not suggesting a solution and only advocating that serious work be done to support and protect SSiW in its quest to advance language learning for us all.