Group copyright, and customising standard licenses

David Johnson david at
Sun Aug 26 04:17:30 UTC 2001

On Friday 24 August 2001 08:51 am, Magnus Lie Hetland wrote:
> The anygui project ( is trying to formulate
> a license. Basically, we're using the Python license
> (2.2) but want to distribute a license file with our
> software -- and in doing so, we need to customise the
> license, supplying a copyright holder, and changing the
> name of the project etc.

Using license templates is best. That way the OSI doesn't have to approve a 
thousand different licenses, all differing only in the name of the copyright 
holder, etc. From my understanding, they are working on this right now (am I 
right?). When that time comes simply use the Python license and replace the 
copyright holder and name of project.

> The question is: Is it possible (valid) to use terms like
> "the authors of anygui", and the like, without providing a
> specific list, or some formal organisation or definition?
> How is this normally done, with all the thousands of
> SourceForge projects using standard license?

The copyright holder must be a legal entity. Either an individual person or 
group of persons by name, a corporation, foundation, etc.

I have seen licenses where there is the primary author's name followed by 
"and contributors", but I do not recommend this (I am not a lawyer, but I 
suspect a real lawyer wouldn't recommend this either). In my layman opinion, 
list all copyright holders in the license. You might want to look at the 
copyright notice for the linux kernel, since it has hundreds of contributors.

Instead of saying "the authors of anygui" I would say "the copyright holders".

David Johnson

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