Licence to Code

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jeeswg
Posts: 6902
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Location: UK

Licence to Code

10 Apr 2017, 16:14

Hello, I'm thinking of releasing some AutoHotkey scripts.

Does anyone have any views on licences (licenses)? E.g. which is the best one. Do any have gaps?

In short, I don't want my users to face bureaucratic or financial hurdles to using my software in future.

Do we realistically need to worry about any of these things? E.g. disclaimers.

Are there advantages in not specifying a licence!?

Cheers.

==================================================

I searched all my ahk files for 'licen':

urls (after any redirection):
http://unlicense.org/
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.txt
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-2.1.txt
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-3.0.html
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html
http://www.wtfpl.net/txt/copying/
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by ... /legalcode
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/
https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/
https://opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php
https://opensource.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html
https://opensource.org/licenses/MIT
https://opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php
https://opensource.org/licenses/zlib-license.php

old urls 1:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BSD/
redirects to:
https://opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php

old urls 2:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/GPL/2.0/
redirects to:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html

bonus urls:
http://phi.lho.free.fr/softwares/PhiLho ... icence.txt
http://www.autohotkey.net/~sumon/license.html
http://www.myfonts.com/viewlicense?type ... id=2164953
https://autohotkey.com/docs/license.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Lesse ... ic_License
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sys ... 69936.aspx

bonus text:
; Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 -> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
; I waive compliance with the "Share Alike" condition of the license EXCLUSIVELY
; for these users:

not working:
http://autohotkey.net/~Tuncay/licenses/ ... tuncay.txt
http://www.autohotkey.net/~k3ph/license.txt
http://www.autohotkey.net/~Titan/license.txt
http://www.autohotkey.net/~Titan/zlib.txt

==================================================

[current popular licences]
Top Open Source Licenses | Black Duck Software
https://www.blackducksoftware.com/top-o ... e-licenses
Open source license usage on GitHub.com · GitHub
https://github.com/blog/1964-license-us ... github-com

Free software license - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software_license
List of free content licenses - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_f ... t_licenses
Comparison of free and open-source software licenses - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compariso ... e_licenses

==================================================
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Guest

Re: Licence to Code

10 Apr 2017, 16:29

Don't use Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/faq/#can-i- ... o-software

Handy tool to choose one https://choosealicense.com/

If you don't (un)license your code professionals/organisations that follow the rules will not be able to use your code: https://choosealicense.com/no-license/
(so any license is better as no license)
guest3456
Posts: 3123
Joined: 09 Oct 2013, 10:31

Re: Licence to Code

10 Apr 2017, 21:51

WTFPL, MIT, BSD

fuck the GPL

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jNizM
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Re: Licence to Code

11 Apr 2017, 01:20

If someone knows a licence like CC BY-NC-SA (alternatively CC BY-NC) but for source code give me a hint. I would use it.
CC BY-NC-SA wrote:Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
[AHK] 1.1.32.00 x64 Unicode | [WIN] 10 Pro (Version 2004) x64 | [GitHub] Profile
Donations are appreciated if I could help you
TestosteronnieFlex

Re: Licence to Code

11 Apr 2017, 10:13

jNizM wrote:If someone knows a licence like CC BY-NC-SA (alternatively CC BY-NC) but for source code give me a hint. I would use it.
From a quick glance at the simplified BY-NC SA terms, they seem pretty similar to the GPL (with, of course, differences), which is what AutoHotkey itself is licensed as. The GPL is hated by software companies (see: Apple putting shitloads of money into LLVM/Clang because they needed a compiler that wasn't GPL-v3 licensed and GPL Violations taking embedded Linux device manufacturers to court because they didn't release the source of the BusyBox they used), so you wouldn't really have to worry about commercial use.
I'll save you from any further of my probably-inaccurate summarisations, but there's these resources:
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joedf
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Re: Licence to Code

11 Apr 2017, 11:33

MIT is a good all-rounder.
SOTE
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Re: Licence to Code

29 Nov 2018, 12:46

Based on my research, I think that MIT is the best license, if the intention is for free use. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_License

The other licenses out there create lots of confusion, either legally or with users, or reference odd restrictions where people are not exactly sure what they can or can't do.
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jeeswg
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Location: UK

Re: Licence to Code

29 Nov 2018, 13:03

- Thanks for the responses so far.
- Having reflected, I think the better question is not which is the best licence, but:
- What clauses would you want/not want in a licence?
- And also. What are the pros and cons of the different licences that you know of?
- I would welcome any feedback along these lines.
- And so, on that basis, you could pick one or modify one. Cheers.
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SOTE
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Re: Licence to Code

29 Nov 2018, 14:50

jeeswg wrote:
29 Nov 2018, 13:03
- Thanks for the responses so far.
- Having reflected, I think the better question is not which is the best licence, but:
- What clauses would you want/not want in a licence?
- And also. What are the pros and cons of the different licences that you know of?
- I would welcome any feedback along these lines.
- And so, on that basis, you could pick one or modify one. Cheers.
It might be better to look at this, as to what the author of the software wants.

1. Allow free use, personal or commercial, but make sure you always get credit = MIT License

2. Allow free for personal use only, and explicitly not allow commercial use =

Creative Commons - Attribution-Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC)

Though the Creative Commons license is not usually applied to software, it seems to be increasingly so. Be it software, graphics, pictures, or music. The reason for this is it being clear about commercial or non-commercial use, versus creating confusion, controversy, and legal quagmires like the GPL and even LGPL. Before Creative Commons - Attribution-Non-Commercial became more popular, it appears that many software authors stuck on this question would write their own license. And unfortunately, some were not very good at it or did not know how to make themselves clear. Creative Commons seems to have taken care of that problem, in terms of clarity. Software example that uses Creative Commons - Attribution-Non-Commercial - CC-BY-NC , AssaultCube.

Creative Commons - Attribution (CC-BY), allow commercial use and give credit.

With Creative Commons, you can also select a license, where you permit commercial use or choose the non-commercial one. For instance, choosing the Creative Commons - Attribution license, that allows commercial use, but must give credit. However, if a person will permit commercial use (CC-BY), I argue that in this case, the MIT license is better, as it was designed specifically for software. But I would not argue against using Creative Commons. For instance, you might allow people to use graphics from your software, so the Creative Common license could be covering both (software and graphics).

Creative Commons can also be used for releasing software as Public Domain, CC0.
Last edited by SOTE on 29 Nov 2018, 15:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Gio
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Re: Licence to Code

29 Nov 2018, 15:16

If you don't (un)license your code professionals/organisations that follow the rules will not be able to use your code: https://choosealicense.com/no-license/
(so any license is better as no license)
Not so sure i agree with that last statement. After reading the first paragraph in the link, i really think that a bad license is indeed worse than no license at all. Afterall, an author can license their work anytime he/she wants (thereby granting rights of use, sell, etc from that moment on). Also, if "professionals/organisations that follow the rules" wish to use the code under a license, they can always approach the author and ask for it. Sometimes it can be pretty hard to know beforehand what exactly you want to do with your own work, and even harder to pay for legal advice if you are not sure that work is going to give you any money at all.

Think about it, suppose that you create a game and it does tremendous success and than you decide that it may be worth it to work the code a little more and sell it on steam, but alas! you have already licensed it under GPL?!

:arrow: Most of the free licenses out there are actually designed to give rights to the users, and are thereby constricting to the authors rights. This could mean that no-license can indeed be a good option sometimes.

But if you absolutely know how you want to distribute a software beforehand, than i must say the best option is indeed this: Get a custom license written under your supervision and under the revision of a lawyer. Don't forget that licenses are only enforceable through court anyway, and that any existing licenses may be subject to past court decisions that you simply cannot account for. A custom license means you can be a part of the discussion from the start and a legal revision by a lawyer may mean that your clauses are more safe from court reinterpretation.
SOTE
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Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: Licence to Code

29 Nov 2018, 16:22

jNizM wrote:
11 Apr 2017, 01:20
If someone knows a licence like CC BY-NC-SA (alternatively CC BY-NC) but for source code give me a hint. I would use it.
CC BY-NC-SA wrote:Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Putting software under CC BY-NC-SA is very similar to GPL. It's arguably just a more clear to read and simplified version of it, that can be more easily understood. There are a number of software releases that uses the CC BY-NC-SA, so if that is what a person wants to do, then they can put their software under it too.

However, a person should be very clear about the effects and necessity of their restrictions. Allowing for business and commercial use might be the best way to become famous or well known in an industry, and then a person can capitalize on that. In other cases, the code created could be the best alternative to do something or help lives, but companies won't touch it (due to license), so it sits in a "corner" collecting dust and dies in obscurity. GPL has found itself becoming a curse or curse word, and maybe CC BY-NC-SA might just be it's equally virus infected, but cute cousin.

"Personal use only" or "Non-Commercial use" type licenses can be ambiguous or people play with the "line". For instance, a person uses the software in the work place, but only on their machine? Is the business liable for some software they might not have known a worker was using? They use the software at home, but for their home business? If the source code is viewable, what's stopping people from re-writing it or portions of it? Except now, they won't give the author credit, where if commercial use was permissible then they would give credit. There are many of these hard to define situations.

As a personal opinion, I think if a person is going to allow it to be free, then just let it go. Let it really be free, be it for personal or commercial use. MIT license, Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY), or Creative Commons Public Domain (CC0). Even if free, a person can still request for donations (even from businesses), to allow for the "contribute if you can afford to or want to help" model. And many don't realize that you can even setup non-profit organizations, give software out for free, but still get big donations from large corporations because of being a tax break, tax deduction, or they want to support continual development. Even if a person doesn't go all out on that level, small donations might be enough. As opposed to years past, there are a lot more options in regards to free software.

If the author is going to charge for it, is a business, or wants/needs to make a profit off of it, then arguably it might just be best to go full payware as oppose to trying to have one foot on each side of the line. No confusion, no odd exceptions, everybody pays. If a person wants to be sympathetic, then perhaps establish different pricing models, where special categories pay much less and businesses pay much more. And if running a business, customer demands, or customer support are too much of a hassle, but the person likes programming, then just let it be totally free software and maybe accept donations.

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