I used an unfree license, but I made a copy paste mistake, declaring that the licnesed stuff is "free software".

Is that legally binding = does it grant the licensee the three fos freedoms?

Here the whole License&Purpose.txt file, holding, well, license, purpose, and copy paste mistake.

Copyright and License of the mod this file is in:


Copyright (C) 2016 KGM : Kai Gerd Müller

This mod is part of the LOTH Minetest subgame.

It most likely won't run within any other subgame than LOTH.

It is free software. It comes without any warranty, to the extent permitted by applicable law.

If there are any bugs, please tell me about on Minetest Forums.


0 . you are allowed to use this mod for personal use only.

1.(taken out of gnu GPL)

This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License. The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in the term "modification".) Each licensee is addressed as "you".


you are allowed to create derivative works for personal use only.


You are not allowed to distribute any copy or work based on this programm unless the copyright holder declares his consent.

  • Making it "for personal use only" is not free as in freedom. Point 3 (not allowed to distribute) is also not free. If this is your intention you should best not mention the General Public License at all to avoid confusion. Also, if you have included GPL software in your mod, then the license you are proposing is violating the GPL, i.e. you cannot say "This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License" unless you do so only for those pieces that you wrote.
    – Brandin
    Aug 16, 2018 at 6:53
  • no gpl software in mod, just lgpl & wtfpl software in other mods that interact with it, but because of weak / no copyleft, this is ok.
    – KGM
    Aug 16, 2018 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


You should certainly remove the statement from your distribution going forward, but here are several points to consider to put your mind at ease about your past mistake:

  • "Free software" is not a legal term of art, and has two common meanings even in everyday usage: the English word "free" admits both "freedom-respecting software" and "software available without cost" as possible meanings. Indeed, even the sense of "freedom-respecting software" has multiple interpretations; for instance, the Debian Free Software Guidelines are more specific than the Free Software Foundation's original four-point definition.

  • Furthermore, the category of free software licenses is a broad one, including both permissive and copyleft licenses. A free license may impose any requirements that do not conflict with the free software definition, so even the more specific claim, "This software license is in compliance with the FSF's free software definition," communicates some information, but does not even begin to communicate the specific rights and requirements of the license.

    • Somewhat analogously, the statement, "This object is a vehicle," tells me something about that object's abilities, but does not even tell me if it moves via land, water, or air.

If you haven't explicitly granted the FSF's four freedoms in your license terms, merely saying "This is free software" does not grant any rights. However, such a statement will be confusing (and will appear deceitful) for people who have an exception that such a statement would be accompanied by an FSF-compliant free-software license grant. If you do not wish to make such a grant, it is a very good idea to remove your statement, but you do not need to worry about having unintentionally licensed specific rights by accidentally making such a statement.

  • great answer! leaves no questions open at all!
    – KGM
    Aug 16, 2018 at 10:38

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