For various reasons - the main ones being frustration with existing open-source licenses and my own sheer arrogance - I've decided to take a go at writing my own license. It's available here: http://gist.github.com/489363 or in the spoiler.
Feedback? preferably from people who have some familiarity with licensing and such.
Bare in mind two things:
- Yes, I know that this license is quirky. I'm aware that it may not be OSD-compatible, and I honestly don't give a. I know that this license requires any modifications to be provided upon request, even if they were never published, and that is intentional (it makes the entire mess in the AGPL unnecessary). I know the last clause is weird - it's a combination anti-tivoization and cover-my-ass clause that makes finding loopholes a good bit harder. I know I can't use GPL'd code from this license, and that's fine with me. I think it is GPL-compatible, and if its not, that would be a bug.
- I don't believe that this license is any the worse for not having pages of legal jargon - I believe (I say "believe" because I don't want to say "know") that common sense is in fact a valid legal argument, and that most judges will interpret licenses the way they were meant to be interpreted, provided they were reasonably clear. So don't just dismiss it because it's [somewhat] readable - although if I'm wrong in this belief, please let me know with evidence. And, this license was meant to be read and even understood (*gasp*) by non-lawyers and non-technical people. This license comes out to twIo bytes smaller than the new BSD license - I like having my license not be the largest file in my repository.
- This is still the second thing. Yes, the definition of "modification" is unclear. Yes, that's suboptimal. No, I don't think that's a good excuse for 30 kilobytes of unreadable jargon.
All rights reserved.
Permission is hereby granted to use this software free of charge.
Redistribution of verbatim, standalone copies of this software, with or
without source, is permitted provided that this notice is retained unmodified.
Modification of this software is permitted provided that this notice, in full
and unmodified, is retained and applied to all modifications, and the source
code for all modifications is made available free of charge upon request,
under these terms.
Redistribution of this software, modified or verbatim, as a component of a
larger work, is permitted provided that a mechanism is provided free of charge
and under no further conditions, to enable further modifications to be made to
this software and incorporated into the larger work.
As an exception to the above clauses, permission is not granted to make any
modification or distribute in any way that would reduce the ability of a
recipient of this software to exercise his or her rights as granted by this
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR
IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE
AUTHORS OR DISTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY,
WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR
IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
(Background: up until a few months ago, I was a major GPL fan - more of a jerk about it than RMS hi'self, if that's possible.)
Thanks in advance.