Open Source Content License (OSCL) - Other/Miscellaneous licenses

John Cowan cowan at
Mon Mar 31 15:21:31 UTC 2008

OSCL Steward scripsit:

> I have made the Open Source Content License and am submitting it for review
> in hopes that it will become OSI approved.  The OSCL can be found at
> it would best fit in the category of
> Other/Miscellaneous licenses.  It was written especially to meet the needs
> of a project RCB I.T. Solutions has to promote open source software.  It is
> a collaborative development environment and we were unable to find a good
> open source license that meets our needs exactly so we wrote this.  We hope
> that it can be OSI approved and used elsewhere and not just on our site.  

A quick look shows that this license is a reciprocal license: that is,
any derivative works must be licensed under the same license as the
original.  This is not a problem in itself, but the proliferation of
such licenses is, because content licensed under one such license (say,
yours) and content licensed under another such license (say, the GPL)
cannot be brought together to form a work that is jointly derivative of
both works.  In essence, each such license creates a separate commons.

You need to tell us in detail why existing reciprocal
licenses such as the GPLv2, the GPLv3, and the OSL (see ) do not meet your needs.

> If anyone here has any legal background and would give a free assessment of the
> license that would be awesome because do the issue of hiring an attorney to
> look at it is too expensive for my small company.  Any other input is much
> appreciated, thanks for your time.

Lawyers can educate and inform people about general principles, but can't give
specific legal advice for free.  Non-lawyers can't give specific legal advice
at all, because of the danger of being charged with the unauthorized practice
of law.

I am not a lawyer; this is not legal advice.

Real FORTRAN programmers can program FORTRAN    John Cowan
in any language.  --Allen Brown                 cowan at

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