5

I like publishing my software completely open source with no limitations (no contribution required, etc). I thought about using the WTFPL, but it lacks an MIT-like disclaimer:

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.

I would really like to merge the WTFPL with the upper part of the MIT license so I have a license as permissive as the WTFPL but also with a disclaimer that I am not responsible for any use of it. I would modify the disclaimer so it doesn't contain the term "copyright holder" (as I don't want to hold any copyright). Would this be legally okay? In other words: Am I allowed to take parts of the MIT license, modify them and add them to the WTFPL license?

What other licensing possibilities do I have to guarantee complete freedom (without required attribution or anything) while making sure I'm not responsible for anything someone else does with my code (e.g. security issues that damage a companies infrastructure, etc.)?

Edit: Okay, obviously people don't like random new license texts. However, I would really like to know what alternatives exist that suite my needs.

migrated from law.stackexchange.com Feb 8 '17 at 19:49

This question came from our site for legal professionals, students, and others with experience or interest in law.

  • What is your concern about just using MIT? Please don't mangle together your own custom licence, it's bad enough for open source users to deal with the normal ones. – dimo414 Feb 9 '17 at 17:18
  • I don't like that people who use my code must provide attribution. Kindly asking them to do so - yes, of course. Forcing them to do so - a no-go for me. Also it forces people to keep the same MIT license on my code, which in my opinion completely destroys the purpose of a permissive license. – Benni Feb 9 '17 at 17:30
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Can I create my own license by modifying an existing one? – dimo414 Feb 9 '17 at 18:11
  • @dimo414 Not anymore :) – Benni Feb 11 '17 at 13:24
  • See the CC0 in my answer which is IMHO what you are looking for. – Philippe Ombredanne Feb 12 '17 at 8:08
3

It usually a bad idea to create a new FOSS license as this will create a new island of oddity and will most likely not help your project being more successful, to the contrary.

The MIT license itself is often called the ISC license and it has many many variants. So many that the actual authorship fades to grey in the darkness of times. It is also the result of the evolution of older licenses from which it borrowed part of its text. As such it is likely a collective work with not clearly defined authorship and an impossible to determine licensing for its own text. If you want to adapt it you can do so safely and none of these undefined authors may be ever blame you for that. But I will blame you for the reasons I explained above.

What other licensing possibilities do I have to guarantee complete freedom (without required attribution or anything) while making sure I'm not responsible for anything someone else does with my code (e.g. security issues that damage a companies infrastructure, etc.)?

Consider the zlib license which does not even require attribution and only requires to keep the license text in the source code only. It has a minimalist disclaimer.

And with even fewer conditions, consider the CC0: it has a proper disclaimer unlike the WTPFL and is really a proper public domain dedication that is even acceptable in countries that do not have such concept like Germany. But it does not have an explicit or implicit patent grant (nor do the zlib or bsd licenses IMHO)

  • 1
    Accepted for the CC0 :) – Benni Feb 26 '17 at 14:44
  • 1
    Island of oddity = license proliferation if I understand correctly – Josh Habdas Jul 3 '17 at 5:46
2

You could license your software under the Free Public License 1.0.0

https://tldrlegal.com/license/free-public-license-1.0.0#fulltext

Also possible would according to your description be this license:

https://tldrlegal.com/license/do-what-the-fuck-you-want-to-but-it's-not-my-fault-public-license-v1-(wtfnmfpl-1.0)#fulltext

although I don't know how established/legally sustainable it is.

  • I have literally no idea about law & licensing. Can anything happen to me if I license the software under the FPL, and someone experiences damage because of a bug or any other error I made while writing it? – Benni Feb 9 '17 at 16:14
  • I am not a lawyer. I would wait reactions from others as well. But it appears the FPL does have some recognition groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mil-oss/0mgXhmtYlFQ Although you would have to check whether the terms of the country that this post was made in/applys to also applies to your country. – metafa Feb 9 '17 at 16:22
  • Thank you very much for that link! Yeah, my comment was an expression of waiting for people who perhaps are lawyers or at least do have some more knowledge than me :) – Benni Feb 9 '17 at 16:39
0

Just use the MIT license. It does not require users credit you, only that the license text and any associated copyright marks be maintained. That is no burden for users, and a minimal burden for anyone redistributing your code.

Remember also that you can always re-license something you own the copyright to in the future, so if you discover the MIT license is a burden for any of your users (hint: you won't) you can work with them to select a different license.

The world of software licenses is complicated enough already, and crafting your own "clever" license just burdens your users - they have to carefully read your license now to make sure there aren't any issues, whereas if you simply use a standard license it's immediately clear whether their intended use case will be acceptable.

  • 1
    It does not require users credit you, only that the license text and any associated copyright marks be maintained with the source code. Maintaining the associated copyright marks is giving credit, so the MIT license does require users credit you. – Thomas Owens Feb 9 '17 at 20:21
  • But licensees don't have to redistribute or acknowledge usage of the library unless they choose to. Compliance is passive. – dimo414 Feb 9 '17 at 20:24
  • That's not true. The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software If you distribute software licensed under the MIT license, you must include the copyright notice and permission notice from the MIT license. It only applies to unchanged MIT licensed code, but you still need to include it. – Thomas Owens Feb 9 '17 at 20:33
  • Right, but since the notice comes with the code, you're automatically compliant. You'd have to actively remove the licence or notice in order to violate the license. And that only applies to redistributing the code, not using it. I agree it's more restrictive than public domain, but it's not burdensome. – dimo414 Feb 9 '17 at 20:50
  • 1
    I agree that it's not burdensome, but this answer contains factually wrong information. Even if you don't distribute the source code, you still need to include the copyright notices and permission notice if you're using any MIT licensed source code. The MIT license uses the word "Software", which includes both source code and binary formats. – Thomas Owens Feb 9 '17 at 21:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.