I recently came across the Zero-Clause BSD License (also known as the Free Public License). A version of the BSD license that does not include any restrictions. I've looked for information regarding the license, but I could not find much information about it

In comparison, I often use public domain licenses like Unlicense and WTFPL in my software, but I've been told of issues public domain causes when using software in countries that doesn't have the public domain (eg: sqlite having to sell licenses so people can use it). And so a license that gives total freedom to absolutely everyone seems very appealing

Really, I just want to put stuff on the internet and avoid as many legal issues as I can. Is there any issue with using 0BSD like there is with public domain licenses?

  • 1
    Why don't you want to use the 3-clause BSD license? This equally allows you to "put stuff on the internet." The 3-clause BSD license does not include any restrictions other than point 3 (the name of the copyright holder... may [not] be used to endorse or promote products...). If you want to allow point 3 (allow your name to be used for promotional purposes), then you can provide written permission for the licensees to do that if they choose.
    – Brandin
    Dec 15 '18 at 10:41
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    @Brandin As far as I see it. I don't particularly mind when people use my code. I put it out there in the hopes it would make someone happy. And I also realized that I don't particularly care about any of the restrictions in BSD/Apache/MIT. I don't care if the end result become's attributed to me or not, or if the original license gets included
    – Michael
    Dec 17 '18 at 19:45
  • @brandin for the simple reason 3 clauses do not allow unlimited freedom Sep 8 '19 at 13:34
  • 0BSD is basically just a less wordy Unlicense. It lacks the futile attempt to attribute the work to the public domain, but otherwise it's equivalent. The WTFPL lacks a CYA clause and thus probably shouldn't be used; there's a variant called the WTFNMFPL which adds one and is equivalent to 0BSD.
    – Kevin
    Sep 30 '19 at 1:41
  • @ArtOfCode Why delete my answer?
    – ryanve
    Aug 5 '20 at 21:01

I recently worked with the team at GitHub to provide more information about 0BSD. More info about Landly's 0BSD now appears on choosealicense.com and, subsequently, will appear on GitHub license drop-downs (takes time). Beyond that you can also find more info about 0BSD on Wiki which I added after you asked this question.

Other places to seek information would be a developer legal site such as Kyle E. Mitchell's /dev/lawyer and TLDRLegal is a source of information on 0BSD for non-legal types. 0BSD was also added over the last few months as a recognized license to the NPM CLI so the CLI no longer warns on 0BSD. More discussion about that may be found on the NPM discussion forums.

If you're looking for reasons not to use a license the primary reasons would be that permissive and unconditional licenses such as BSD/ISC/Expat have the propensity to violate user freedoms as defined by Richard Stallman in that they may be made closed behind closed doors and inhibit contributions back to the community under the strict copyleft terms of the GNU GPL.

Otherwise, have at it. 0BSD is a good unconditional license as it contains no public domain dedication and, therefore, may be used without fee in jurisdictions where public domain is not a recognized legal concept.


There is at least one reason to avoid 0BSD: it's not popular.

Meaning that most likely it was not reviewed by most corporation's law departments. If I were to use or contribute to 0BSD code at work I'll have to chase Google lawyers to clear it.

Apache 2 is generally recommended as trouble-free.

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    While the Apache 2 license is a very good permissive license, it is e.g. incompatible with GPLv2. That may be undesirable. The simpler licenses from the BSD/MIT/ISC license families might be more attractive in that case.
    – amon
    Dec 15 '18 at 14:09
  • @amon good point. Apache 2 is compatible with GPL 3 but not with GPL 2. Still due to patent stuff which I frankly don't understand, "Free Software Foundation recommends it over other non-copyleft licenses, specifically recommending it either for small programs or for developers who wish to use a permissive license for other reasons"
    – rvs
    Dec 15 '18 at 14:37
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    If he's comparing against the 0BSD, then he should probably consider the MIT or 2-clause BSD license, not Apache. Jan 11 '19 at 23:42
  • Argumentum ad populum. Your position does not accurately reflect reasons not to use 0BSD other than existing legal code, which is not a rational basis for argument. Sep 8 '19 at 13:35
  • 2
    @JoshHabdas Choosing a well-known, recognizable license that accomplishes your goals is not irrational. However if you have an alternative answer please contribute one.
    – Brandin
    Sep 8 '19 at 15:40

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