FSFE announces Software Licensing Best Practices
The FSFE launches today its best practises in licensing for Free and Open Source Software project. Targeted at developers and companies, these best practices show you how to make it clear to others what license your software is being distributed under, in a way which both computers and humans can understand.
A recent study conducted by GitHub discovered that less than 20% of the projects hosted on their site included a license. This is problematic because, although most developers want to share their code, without their explicit consent spelled out in a legal document, you cannot benefit from their generosity.
If you want others to be able to use your code, you have to include a license, and do so in a way which can be understood by humans and computers alike. Attaching a license to software that humans can understand can be challenging in itself. Making a computer understand your license is even more difficult.
As a project grows, it will incorporate code from other projects or people. This means you will have to keep track of and retain copyright notices, respecting the licenses used. Careless licensing and omitting notices can infringe other people's rights. This can lead to legal problems for both parties.
The Software Licensing Best Practices guide will help you include license and copyright notices correctly in your software. You will avoid legal problems down the road and others will be able to share your programs in accordance with your wishes. Computers will be able to understand your license and copyright and, most important of all, your rights and the rights of others will be respected.