Copy-Back License draft for discussion

John Cowan jcowan at
Sun Apr 24 17:20:52 UTC 2005

Chris Zumbrunn scripsit:

> The CBL was a "for fun" attempt to come up with a project-neutral 
> license template that is as free and non-verbose as possible but has 
> what I call a "copy-back" nature as opposed to copy-left or copy-right.
> It's basically a template version of a BSD style license with the 
> addition of clause 5 which asks for modifications and extensions to be 
> shared back to the original contributor. It stays short of burdening 
> the licensee with additional copy-left or copy-right restrictions. But 
> the copy-back is a strong copy-back... How much copy-back is legal 
> (compatible with copyright law) and how much copy-back is still "free"?

Licenses like this are generally considered obnoxious, and people who make
distros generally don't like them.  If you have 100 different programs
licensed under the CBL, then you are burdened with keeping track of 100
different licensor email addresses and sending notices to them if and only if.

About the most that the FLOSS community will accept is a requirement to
publicize the change on a web page, not to actively mail it back to you.

John Cowan <jcowan at>
Micropayment advocates mistakenly believe that efficient allocation of
resources is the purpose of markets.  Efficiency is a byproduct of market
systems, not their goal.  The reasons markets work are not because users
have embraced efficiency but because markets are the best place to allow
users to maximize their preferences, and very often their preferences are
not for conservation of cheap resources.  --Clay Shirkey

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