All non-source-code and/or source-code public content licenses I have came across are free or open source (FOSS) which reduces the effect of "copyright" to minimum (although not vanish copyright);

Examples for such public content licenses are:

  • Public domain licenses (FOSS)
  • Creative Commons licenses (possibly FOSS)
  • GNU General Public License (FOSS)

While I know that there are private content licenses which are not FOSS, I wonder what about public ones;
Do public content licenses which are not FOSS (which increases the effect of "copyright" to maximum) exist?

  • 4
    What do you mean with the term "public content license"? The Creative Commons NoDerivative (ND) and NonCommercial (NC) licenses are not open-source licenses. Do they qualify? Nov 16, 2020 at 13:04
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau - any license that was developed by one entity for the benefit of licensing ANY content by WHATEVER entity (yes the two you mentioned qualify). Nov 16, 2020 at 13:28
  • However than we can ask "and what's the license of the license itself" which I fail to answer. Nov 16, 2020 at 13:28
  • 1
    @guestoscientific You have managed to create two different accounts here, this one which created this question, and this one which proposed the edit and created your other question. Please see the Help Center for the procedure to get these merged so you can edit "your own" questions. Nov 16, 2020 at 22:22
  • @guestoscientific ...and so you can accept an answer to this question, which is part of the social compact of the site.
    – MadHatter
    Nov 17, 2020 at 8:54

1 Answer 1


Yes, there do exist licenses that broadly endeavor to make a work freely available (and often modifiable and redistributable, too) but are not FOSS licenses.

For examples, see the "Nonfree Software Licenses" section on the FSF's Various Licenses and Comments about Them page, many of which are obviously intended to grant a high degree of freedom but are nevertheless not FOSS for one reason or another. The page usually explains what particular point(s) cause each license to be nonfree.

  • 1
    There is also the set of badly written licences.And the set of naive licences. Nov 16, 2020 at 22:18

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