Suppose I was finishing up an open source software. I needed to license it under an open source license.

My question:

Why would I not want to license my software under a Creative Commons license?

Why are other licenses such as MIT licenses better for this?

  • The Creative Commons licenses are also not compatible with the GNU GPL, an heavily used free software license, while the MIT (Expat) license is compatible with all GPL versions.
    – Calinou
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 19:56
  • I'm not sure why this was labeled as a duplicate. This asks about CC licenses in general, whereas the selected question this is duplicating is only about CC BY-SA.
    – moorepants
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 0:48
  • @Calinou Dozens of dedicated software licenses are not compatible with GNU GPL. Sorry, but that really is no argument for not using CC for software as that would then be an argument against any software license not GPL compatible.
    – Mecki
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


Short answer: because the CC licenses have not been designed for software and source code.

This is answered by Creative Commons themselves in their FAQ:

Unlike software-specific licenses, CC licenses do not contain specific terms about the distribution of source code, which is often important to ensuring the free reuse and modifiability of software. Many software licenses also address patent rights, which are important to software but may not be applicable to other copyrightable works. Additionally, our licenses are currently not compatible with the major software licenses, so it would be difficult to integrate CC-licensed work with other free software. Existing software licenses were designed specifically for use with software and offer a similar set of rights to the Creative Commons licenses.

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