Thread: Picking a license

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Aug 2001

    Picking a license

    I have this project that I want to release, but I can't find any good license for it. Basically, I want anyone to be able to download the program for free and copy it as much as they want. However, I don't want to make the source code available, and I don't want people to be able to make derivatives of my program.

    I've searched around and found tons of open source licenses, but I can't find any good closed source freeware license. I thought I had something here, but then I saw that Creative Commons licenses should not be used for software. Are there any licenses similar to this one that works for software?

    What if I would take some short license, like this one, and simply replace the parts about derivative works? Would that work?

  2. #2
    Registered User major_small's Avatar
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    May 2003
    I use creative commons licenses for my software... I don't really see why you wouldn't use it for software...

    edit: I release my code under creative commons licenses... since you don't want to release your code, they may not be what you need...

    it may be the case that the best way to go would be to hire a lawyer and have him/her draw up a license for you based on what you want...

    edit2: also, think about it this way: is this project important enough to warrant a license?

    edit3: why do you need a license? how can somebody create a derivative of your work unless they have your source? all you really have to do is provide a free binary and people will copy it to eachother, and without the source out there, there's no risk of somebody stealing your work... the only thing I can think of is somebody else 'adding' your program to their own by calling your binary from within theirs... even so, that's not anything really wrong, because they're simply copying and using your program like you said they could...

    also, consider this: if you let peole copy your binary (yourprog.exe, for example), and send it to others, what stops me from creating yourprog.exe (a virus) and distributing it as your program? If somebody's distributing only the binary without code, I'd feel much safer knowing I was getting it from a trusted source... and even if others had the binary and/or source, I would download and compile the code...
    Last edited by major_small; 06-30-2005 at 10:27 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Aug 2001
    Thanks for your reply. About Creative Commons, they do say in their faq that it should not be used for software, but as you say, using it only for the code might be different.

    also, think about it this way: is this project important enough to warrant a license?
    Well, it's not important enough to hire a lawyer, but I would like some kind of license for it. Should the program ever get popular I think it would be nice with some clear terms of use for everyone to read, especially since it is meant to be used in schools and universities and such. But then, as you said, it would be hard for people to make derivatives or steal the project without the source.

    What if I would simply write: "You may use and copy this program as you wish, as long as you do not change anything in the original package and give the original authour all credit." Wouldn't that be clear enough?

  4. #4
    Banned nickname_changed's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    I don't think it's illegal to just download some software you like, open the installer, copy and paste their license agreement and do a search/replace of their name for yours. Of course it's your fault if you leave their name in or do something stupid like not reading the license in the first place and accidentally agree to eat your first born. That's why people hire lawyers. But if it's not worth hiring a lawyer, you'll be OK to just copy and paste.

    Of course, as a disclaimer, this doesn't constitute legal advise and you should see a lawyer. Also speak to your financial advisor, and if problems persist consult your doctor.

    What you wrote at the end should cover you. Just make sure to add they can't dissassemble the code or otherwise attempt to reverse engineer it, and you can not be held responsible for any problems that might come up as a result of using your software. Also make sure to spell "author" correctly.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2001
    Ok, I think I'll just write something on my own then, maybe using some existing license as a template.

    Also make sure to spell "author" correctly.
    I will consider that

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