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Google provides a lot of pretrained tensorflow models, but I cannot find a license.

I am interested in the tfjs-models. The code is licensed Apache-2.0, but the models are downloaded by the code, so the license of the repository probably does not apply to the models and I am not able to find anywhere a note about the license of the pretrained models.

How should I handle this, especially when I may want to distribute models derived from the pretrained Google models?

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I am not sure if a pretrained machine learning model is actually protected by copyrights or not. Copyright protection exists to protect the creators of creative works from having their work "stolen", and I am not sure if training a ML model is an act of creativity.

That said, assuming that a pretrained ML model is actually protected by copyrights, then it is more likely that the model is a derived work of the data set used for training than that it is a derived work of the software that uses the model.

The software reads the model in as data, assuming that the software can be used with many differently trained models. In that case, the software and the model are considered completely independent works in the same way that MS Word and the documents you write with it are independent works for copyright.

Thus, if you want to publish the trained model with a license, I would recommend to use the BSD license that was also used for the training set.

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  • $\begingroup$ My problem is, that I want to use and distribute a model pretrained by Google as part of a software. I both need to be sure that I am allowed to do this and I need to know how to license the model to my users. $\endgroup$ – allo Apr 21 '20 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ That a model is loaded as data is true, but I still have two problems. First I need to convert it (from tfjs to tensorflow) and second because Google only hosts the tfjs model I would need to distribute the converted model. In addition I would probably distribute it bundled with an application that is licensed with a copyleft license and then I need to be sure that I am allowed to grant the rights from the license. $\endgroup$ – allo Apr 21 '20 at 21:48

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