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Scenario: Lets say I have a software I have been developing. I am about to release it but I first have to apply some licenses.

Question: Suppose I want to release part of the software (the code) under one license and the other part, such as pictures, under another licence, can I do this?

  • If yes, how?

  • If no, what other things can I do to get this result?

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Yes you can.

One example: the source code for the video game Doom 3 is released as GPL, but this release does not include the game data, which is still covered by the game's original release EULA.

The answer is obvious when you realise there's a misconception that seems to be quite common: if you are the copyright holder, you can license in whatever way you want. The license doesn't affect yourself. Software licenses can't magically take away rights that you already have.

  • I wonder why this process is not widely-used. It's very productive. – Abhimanyu Jun 26 '15 at 3:51
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You can do it.

The best way to think about it is from the perspective of license compatibility (see also How can I determine if two open source licenses are compatible with each other?). In the words of Richard Stallman,

Suppose we have two or three programs and each one has its own licence and you would like to merge them or link them together. Can you do that? Well, each of these licences might make a condition about the licence of the combination. So, the question is: is there anyway you can satisfy both of these licences at once? If there is, then the licences are compatible, you can make a combination because there is a way to licence the combination that satisfies both of these licences.

But if there's no way to licence the combination so as to satisfy both of these requirements together, the combination can't be released. That means the licences are incompatible.

Two aspects of the same software can be used together if they are compatible. But choose wisely.

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