Suppose I am working on an open source project. I am nearly finished, and about to publish it. I would like to release it to the public so that they can learn and make their own version but I DO NOT want them to republish or sell in ANY way.

My question:

Is the CC-BY-NC-ND license the most strict license that I can use to prevent users from republishing / selling / using for commercial use?

  • This is very opinion-based at the moment - define best.
    – ArtOfCode
    Jul 1, 2015 at 14:53
  • @ArtOfCode ok i have changed it Jul 1, 2015 at 14:54
  • 1
    My two cents on this, but CC Licenses are not targeted at code and considering to use a license which is might be helpful a thing that comes to my mind is AGPL Jul 1, 2015 at 16:59
  • 5
    Both NC and ND make it non-free non-open-source. Jul 1, 2015 at 17:16

2 Answers 2


It would seem so. Many software licenses (and all open/free licenses) grant the right to redistribute and change at minimum, so picking one of those doesn't suit. CC licenses aren't made for software, and this is actually an asset to you for this.

CC BY-NC-ND is non-free, non-open, and grants almost no rights at all. You're allowed to use the work as inspiration, to read the code, and to redistribute without modifications, but nothing else - read the summary.

However, you could just say "all rights reserved". You imply that people can read it by publishing, but if all rights are reserved they can't do anything else.


The best solution is not to stray into open source/free software at all. CC-BY-NC-ND is already non-free and non-open, but you can go much further.

You can publish your source all rights reserved. The act of publishing it grants an implicit license that people may read it.

Projects that are NC, ND or all rights reserved are not open source projects though, so the premise that you're working on an open source project is false.

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