[License-discuss] License licenses

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Fri May 31 03:42:22 UTC 2019

The licenses of the GPL and LGPL are embedded in them:  "Everyone is
permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document,
but changing it is not allowed."  That's to prevent creating a twisty maze
of licenses, all different.

The same is true of the Eclipse PL:  "The Agreement Steward reserves the
right to publish new versions (including revisions) of this Agreement from
time to time. No one other than the Agreement Steward has the right to
modify this Agreement."

The license for the Apache 2.0 license is given at <

Yes, you are allowed to re-use and modify them. You just can't hold the ASF
> legally responsible if these documents are not exactly what you intend them
> to be. We recommend that you obtain your own legal advice so you know
> exactly what you are getting yourself into.

And if you adapt these agreements for your purposes, you have to make sure
> that the phrase 'Apache Software Foundation' or any confusingly similar
> references or parts that specifically refer to the Apache organisation do
> not appear in your version of the agreements (except to note that your
> version is derived and differs from the original provided by the ASF).

The MPL 2.0 is similar, but embedded in the license itself:  "If you create
software not governed by this License, and you want to create a new license
for such software, you may create and use a modified version of this
License if you rename the license and remove any references to the name of
the license steward (except to note that such modified license differs from
this License)."

The CDDL is much the same:  "When You are an Initial Developer and You want
to create a new license for Your Original Software, You may create and use
a modified version of this License if You: (a) rename the license and
remove any references to the name of the license steward (except to note
that the license differs from this License); and (b) otherwise make it
clear that the license contains terms which differ from this License."

De facto, anyone can change the MIT and BSD licenses, and many people do.

On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 4:26 PM Patrick Masson <masson at opensource.org>

> All,
> We recently received a question asking, "What are the licenses for the OSI
> approved license texts themselves?"
> Currently the OSI website, including the pages with license text, states,
> *"The content on this website, of which Opensource.org is the author, is
> licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License."*
> *"Opensource.org is not the author of any of the licenses reproduced on
> this site. Questions about the copyright in a license should be directed to
> the license steward."*
> We would like to add the following information to each license page:
> - License Copyright: [Name of person/organization who submitted the
> license, and year submitted]
> - License License: [The license e.g. CC-BY-SA, for the text of the license]
> - License Contact: [Contact info for person/organization who submitted, or
> currently manages, the license]
> If you have any of the above, can you please share it with me?
> I will also be searching the OSI License Review / Discuss archives and OSI
> Board meeting notes for references to try to collect the same info. It
> would be nice if the people on this list could provide any information they
> may have, so I can confirm any information I may find/have.
> Thanks for your help,
> Patrick
> --
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> Patrick Masson
> General Manager & Director, Open Source Initiative
> 855 El Camino Real, Ste 13A, #270
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