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On this website https://choosealicense.com/non-software/#data-media-etc they seem to classify non software as data but can't data be code which in turn would be software? Basically in the open source world what is considered software and non software? Is the code concidered non software if you put it into a game which is software?

Basically there is this code I wrote and you have to copy it into a in game editor for a game using a addon that is licensed under apache 2.0 and is on the steam workshop to use the code you make work in-game. Would the code I wrote be concidered softwares or non software I think it is non software because I am not baking it into the game. But I am not sure and need opinions on what people would classify it as. I know non software is media and stuff like that. But this is kinda in-between software and non software cause it won't work without the addon that you have to add to the base game/software to be able to use it in game.

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Basically in the open source world what is considered software and non software?

I don't know about all of the open source community, but I can give you my stance on it.

In my view, something is software if it contains instructions to let a computer perform certain actions, where those actions are not just "show this content with this formatting".

Is the code concidered non software if you put it into a game which is software?

For me, that depends on what the code does to the game. If it just affects the scenery in which the game is played but does not really affect the nature of the game, then I consider it to be data. If the code really affects the nature of the game, then it is more likely to be software.


For copyright protection, it doesn't matter if your code is considered software or not. For copyright law, it is all the same as books and other literary works.

The reason that we have copyright licenses that are specifically tailored for software is because there are some unique aspects to software that are not found in other copyrightable works.

  • Software is routinely and mechanically transformed from a human-readable format into a machine-readable format. This gives rise to the notion of source code in the copyleft/share-alike software license
  • Contrary to other works, end-user software is rarely produced by a single copyright holder (or group of cooperating copyright holders). An application is typically linked to one or more libraries that are independently developed. Some consider that this linking creates a new derived work that derives from all input projects. As creating a derived work is only allowed with a license, copyright licenses for software might need to take this aspect into consideration.

This does not mean that copyright licenses tailored for software cannot be used for non-software works, but some terms and clauses might look a bit strange when a software license is applied to a non-software work.

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Basically in the open source world what is considered software and non software?

There is no fundamental difference: the primary form of protection for both software and "data" is copyright. However, some licenses (e.g. the GNU GPL family) are specifically deal with issues that are specific to software (e.g. linking) so are better suited as a license for software. Other licenses, for example the Open Font License deal with issues that are specific to other forms of media (fonts unsurprisingly in the case of the Open Font License) so are better suited as a license for fonts.

However, you could if you wanted to use the GNU GPL to license a font (and that's certainly been done) or the Open Font License to license some software. It's certainly not recommended to do the latter as it would probably not give you or the recipients of the software the freedoms and protections you desire.

But I am not sure and need opinions on what people would classify it as.

If you think this is actually a serious issue for you, you don't need the opinions of random people on the Internet, you need the professional services of a lawyer.

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  • It's not a serious issue just wanting more opinions on how other people interpurit it. I know I could have changed the spelling and words used to make it sound more like that. – Matthew Oct 24 '20 at 16:13

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