Machine-readable licenses?

David Woolley forums at
Wed Sep 8 06:25:14 UTC 2010

Matthew Flaschen wrote:
> Andrea Chiarelli wrote:
>> Does anybody know a project aiming to define a machine-readable
>> language in order to describe Open Source software licenses?
>> Something similar to CC REL (
> They already have machine-readable code for GPLv2
> ( and
> LGPLv2.1

I don't think that is what the OP meant.  I think they meant something like:


Whilst I think that a lot of legal documents would be a lot clearer if 
written in programming language syntax, this is not going to work 
because, in legal documents, every word tends to be carefully chosen, 
and summarising in terms of keywords derived from another licence is 
unlikely to reproduce the intended meaning accurately, and almost 
certainly not going to reproduce it to the satisfaction of the drafting 

> (
> There is no reason this scheme can't be extended for other licenses.

David Woolley
Emails are not formal business letters, whatever businesses may want.
RFC1855 says there should be an address here, but, in a world of spam,
that is no longer good advice, as archive address hiding may not work.

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