Licensing 101 for Open Source Projects--Pick a License
Jul 16, 2009, 20:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ossi Niiranen)
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"What’s the Problem?
When you write your code from scratch, you get the added benefit of
being the so-called “owner” of the code. In legalese,
it means that you own the copyright over the code, and can restrict
others from using it, or to grant them limited rights (via
licensing). More importantly, you are free to decide yourself on
what terms you want to license the code, e.g., whether to for
example license your code for a fee (i.e., via proprietary
licensing) or under an open source license (where a fee is
sometimes possible, but not necessarily always a viable business
model given the characteristics of open source licenses).
"The flip-side of the above is that when you are the one
receiving code, you do not usually get full rights to do what you
want with the code. You are limited by the license terms covering
the code in question. It makes no difference in theory whether the
license is open source or not, as open source licenses are based on
exactly the same legal principles as proprietary licenses. Thus,
when you incorporate third party open source code into your
project’s codebase, you need to always comply with the
license terms for the code in question. "