Copyright and license

I've done a lot of work related to software licensing as part of the Mozilla relicensing project and when I worked at CollabNet. As a result of enduring endess wrangling about licensing terms I've been put off complex licensing schemes, and prefer to make my own works available under very liberal terms.

For software I prefer use of the so-called "MIT license" (also known as the "X11 license") as being the most simple and easy-to-understand license in common use, and the one least likely to cause issues for others who want to reuse my software. For my writings in general I use an even simpler license that grants essentially blanket permissions subject only to a minimal notification requirement.

(I don't use the Creative Commons attribution license because I don't see it adding much value for my purposes, and the additional language in the Creative Commons license just gives people more things to argue about. However if for some reason you want to reuse my works under a Creative Commons license or comparable licenses, such as the GNU Free Documentation License or the Open Publication License, just send me a request; I'll almost certainly grant you whatever permissions you require.)

Content license

Unless otherwise noted the following copyright notice and license terms apply to all normal prose material (i.e., anything other than software and associated documentation) created by me and published on this site:

Copyright © 1994-2006 Frank Hecker (http://www.hecker.org)

You may freely distribute this material in whole or in part, with or without modifications, in the original language or in translation, by itself or as part of other works, in any form and for any purpose, and may permit others to whom you distribute this material to do so as well, provided only that you include the above copyright notice and this permissions notice in all copies or substantial portions of the material.

Software license

Unless otherwise noted the following copyright notice and license terms apply to all software and associated documentation created by me and distributed on this site or as part of this site (including CSS stylesheets, HTML templates, and so on):

Copyright © 1994-2006 Frank Hecker (http://www.hecker.org)

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Mini-FAQ

One thing I've noticed with open source and free software licensing is that many people don't seem to take the licenses at face value, but are always asking questions about what they can and can't do, even when the issue is directly addressed by the license itself. In that spirit here is a "mini-FAQ" intended to forestall such questions:

  • "Do I need to ask your permission before I do something with your writings or your software?" No, you do not. However I'd appreciate it if you'd send me an email message if you find anything I've created to be of enough interest to you that you're motivated to redistribute or reuse it; that may motivate me in turn to keep creating new stuff.

  • "Can I use your writings or software in commercial products like books or proprietary software?" Yes, you can, and you don't have to pay me a cent. However if you'd like me to enhance something I've written or create new related material then I might be willing to do that for a fee, depending on the nature of the project and whether my work situation permits me to do so.

  • "If I use your writings or software in creating my own works, what do I need to do in order to comply with your license terms?" Not much at all: If you use brief extracts then you don't need to do anything at all; this includes quoting material in blog postings, magazine articles, books and other contexts that would traditionally be considered "fair use". (However both common courtesy and scholarly tradition would dictate that you attribute the material to me.) If you redistribute entire articles or source code files, or incorporate substantial portions of them in your own work, then the license terms require that you duplicate my copyright notice and permissions notice (i.e., the license terms themselves) in an appropriate place (e.g., accompanying the writings or source code in question).

  • "Can I use your software in software licensed under the GPL, or your writings in documents licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License?" Yes. For software I'm using the MIT/X11 license, which the Free Software Foundation considers to be compatible with the GPL. For my writings I'm using a license that is so liberal I'd be surprised if there were any compatibility issue with the GFDL. However note that using my software (or writings) in a GPL-licensed program (or GFDL-licensed document) does not mean that you can simply replace my license notice with a GPL (or GFDL) license notice; if you want to do that then you need to ask my permission (which I'll almost certainly grant).

UPDATE: Changed the copyright notice to reflect the new year.

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