Which License Should I Use?

Ben Finney bignose+hates-spam at benfinney.id.au
Mon Nov 28 22:45:15 CET 2005

Rocco Moretti <roccomoretti at hotpop.com> wrote:
> One point that frequently gets ignored in licensing debates:
> The value of a license is directly proportional to the amount of
> time, effort, and money you are willing to spend enforcing it.

That's a very important factor, yes.

> It doesn't matter how fancy the legal wording is - it is up to you,
> as the copyright holder, to bring legal action

This is true as far as it goes. What is sought, though, is not "fancy
legal wording", but clarity of intent.

The wording is *extremely* important, since it must express, as
clearly and unambiguously as possible, the intent of the license
granter. Legal action and judicial interpretation will play their
part, but the clearer you can make the license text, the less
guesswork is needed on both sides to determine what is and is not
permitted in the license terms.

The GNU GPL, and the Expat license (née X11, MIT, 2-clause BSD, etc.),
are popular in part because the intent of their terms is expressed
very clearly.

 \       "He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder."  -- |
  `\                                           Maurits Cornelis Escher |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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