I'm looking for a "fair use" open source license. By this I mean that I want anyone to be able to browse the source code and take bits and pieces as they please, and be able to inspect my source code to establish trust with my business and look for security vulnerabilities, but they may not take the entire site and change the domain name and create a competitor to my business.

Other than writing such a license myself, is there already a license that fits these requirements?

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    This would not be an open source license, so deep discussion is probably off-topic here. However, have you considered simply not offering a license to reuse your code? Let people look at it, and clearly state that it is all-rights-reserved, no reuse/distribution allowed. If you're trying to look generous, it hardly seems like a good PR move: saying, "yes, you can use some 'small' amount of this code, but if you use too much (how much that means, no one knows!) I'll sue you" isn't likely inspire goodwill toward your brand. Simply "look but please don't touch" seems like better optics. – apsillers Oct 12 '17 at 16:19
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    To be clear, I think this is weakly on-topic, as identifying these terms as out-of-bounds for FLOSS seems okay to me. This is especially true since I expect the OP is not the first person ever to wish for such a license. A clear answer "don't bother looking at FLOSS licenses for a good match" seems valuable to the Internet at large as an authoritative answer for this problem, posed semi-commonly to FLOSS licensing experts. – apsillers Oct 12 '17 at 16:29
  • @apsillers Agree, but I think one of the regulars should write such a question and the definitive answer – Michael Schumacher Oct 24 '17 at 16:07
  • @MichaelSchumacher: Yeah, I got pilloried for this one and stackexchange says if I delete it they might ban me! – user14717 Oct 24 '17 at 16:24

What you are asking cannot be a free/open-source license because it does not grant users the freedom to pass along copies, or to use the software for any purpose, or to publish modified versions – see the Open Source Definition.

However, what you describe is very close to the default copyright, if you do not issue any license. When you publish the code, it is automatically protected via copyright. People may obviously read the code that you published. But they do not have the right to redistribute your code, or publish their own changes to the code. People may use parts of your code under a copyright exemption of their applicable jurisdiction, for example under the fair-use doctrine in the U.S., or if the used part is too trivial to be protected by copyright.

One risk with this is that many people mistake “published copyrighted work” for “it's on the internet, so that's basically public domain”. But even formal licenses don't solve the problem of people ignoring copyright.

You are not the first to have this problem. It may be worth looking into Microsoft's non-free “shared source” license family. E.g. The MS Reference Source License includes a non-transferable license to reproduce the code and a non-transferable patent grant, but both only for reference use. Note that you can probably achieve your goals without giving similar permissions.

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