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
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 10:41
  • 6
    @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
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 19:45
  • @brandin for the simple reason 3 clauses do not allow unlimited freedom
    – vhs
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 13:34
  • 1
    @ArtOfCode Why delete my answer?
    – ryanve
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 21:01
  • 1
    Here is a part of talk that answers to all questions youtube.com/watch?v=MkJkyMuBm3g&t=1528s Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


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.

  • Very odd answer since the link you included suggests not to use 0bsd (it files it under bronze blueoak)
    – Pacerier
    Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 0:27
  • 1
    @Pacerier BlueOak's bronze rating is not exactly a 'do not use' suggestion - BlueOak's own model contributor license explicitly says bronze is good enough for its purposes. And my understanding is that the 0BSD is only bronze instead of silver because of the lawyerly concern that not obligating redistributors to pass along the no-warranty disclaimer might open you up to liability.
    – mtraceur
    Commented Feb 29 at 15:45

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.

Update from Oct 2022: somebody at Google reviewed 0BSD and now Google employees allowed to send patches to 0BSD projects and use it inside Google (with many caveats).

The original points still stands - it took a while for this license to be reviewed, and many engineers may not just bother checking, falling back to familiar GPL or Apache licenses.

  • 3
    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
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 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
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 14:37
  • 6
    If he's comparing against the 0BSD, then he should probably consider the MIT or 2-clause BSD license, not Apache. Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 23:42
  • 4
    @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
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 15:40
  • 1
    @BorisVerkhovskiy, yes it appears somebody reviewed it and it's on the list of allowed licenses to use: opensource.google/documentation/reference/thirdparty/…, and it specifically listed as allowed to contribute now: opensource.google/documentation/reference/patching#forbidden
    – rvs
    Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 9:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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