First Post / Question Regarding CPOL 1.02

Joe Bell joe.bell at
Mon Oct 5 20:24:19 UTC 2009

Thanks Chuck, Richard, for the replies thus far regarding the CPOL
license - 

To be truthful, I am struck by its inconsistencies and vague statements,
particular 5e,

e.	You may distribute the Executable Files and Source Code only
under the terms of this License, and You must include a copy of, or the
Uniform Resource Identifier for, this License with every copy of the
Executable Files or Source Code You distribute and ensure that anyone
receiving such Executable Files and Source Code agrees that the terms of
this License apply to such Executable Files and/or Source Code. You may
not offer or impose any terms on the Work that alter or restrict the
terms of this License or the recipients' exercise of the rights granted
hereunder. You may not sublicense the Work. You must keep intact all
notices that refer to this License and to the disclaimer of warranties.
You may not distribute the Executable Files or Source Code with any
technological measures that control access or use of the Work in a
manner inconsistent with the terms of this License.

Note that in this clause that the distribution of a Derivative Work is
not mentioned - I find this omission odd because while the preamble
states that the Source Code and Executable Files can be used in
commercial applications, can be redistributed, and can be modified to
create derivative works; and permission is granted to create Derivative
Works (3d), 5e omits Derivative Works.  Considering that a number of the
projects on Code Project are libraries and subroutines one can link
against or extend it is plausible that a large percentage of licensees
of the CPOL are in fact creating Derivative Works.

I also am interested in the meaning of the last sentence of 5e, "You may
not distribute the Executable Files or Source Code with any
technological means that control access or use of the Work in a manner
inconsistent with the terms of this License." To me this sounds like
anti-TPM language but the phrase "inconsistent with the terms of this
License" leaves one confused as to precisely what terms are being
referred to.


-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Swiger [mailto:chuck at] 
Sent: Monday, October 05, 2009 3:03 PM
To: Joe Bell
Cc: license-discuss at
Subject: Re: First Post / Question Regarding CPOL 1.02

Hi, Joe--

On Oct 5, 2009, at 12:44 PM, Joe Bell wrote:
> My question is regarding the Code Project Open License
> ) and whether or not anyone has done a "rigorous" analysis of it - I  
> did notice that it isn't an OSI-approved open source license, but  
> the fact is that it does cover quite a variety of useful C# and .NET  
> projects on the Code Project website and I'd be interested to learn  
> other's opinions on any gotchas and/or loopholes in this license.

Welcome.  We haven't done a formal review of that license, as we  
normally only consider licenses which have been submitted for review  
by their authors as part of the normal process.

Just offhand, it's not compliant with the OSD #1 due to clause 5d:  
"You agree not to sell, lease, or rent any part of the Work. This does  
not restrict you from including the Work or any part of the Work  
inside a larger software distribution that itself is being sold. The  
Work by itself, though, cannot be sold, leased or rented."

Clause 5f also runs into problems with OSD #5 & #6; for example, the  
author might feel that using the software to develop a weapon is  
immoral, but the OSD does not permit the license to discriminate  
against that or any field of endeavor.  Or the author might feel that  
using the software on a website which promotes Hinduism (or Judaism,  
Christianity, etc) is immoral....

Such clauses in a license-- ie, forbidding one to use the licensed  
material for illegal purposes-- are generally not useful, as local law  
determines what is licit or not, and terms in a license cannot  
override that anyway.


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