Code - License / Copyright


Whether free or not, resources normally come with a license to ensure fair use.

Rather than establishing verbal agreements, I can distribute my work with a license that sets the guidelines for use. The things that are copyrighted are sometimes referred to as “intellectual property.”

Open Source

Free and open-source software (FOSS).

in 1998, the free software foundation was re-branded it to “open source initiative” to emphasize the business potential of sharing and collaborating on software source code.

The benefits of using FOSS can include:

  • decreasing software costs,
  • increasing security and stability (especially in regard to malware),
  • protecting privacy,
  • and giving users more control over their own hardware

There's no such thing as a free (software) lunch by Jay Michaelson, Wasabi Systems - What every developer should know about open source licensing



Free software does not mean noncommercial.

You may have:

  • paid money to get copies of free software,
  • obtained copies at no charge.

But regardless of how you got your copies, you always have the freedom to copy and change the software, even to sell copies

See Free philosophy / definition

If people have to pay when they get a copy of a program, or if they have to notify anyone in particular, then the program is not free. (Ref)

If a license does not permit users to make copies and sell them, it is a nonfree license.

In “free software”, this is about freedom, not price. Think of “free speech”, not “free beer”. The program is free regardless of the price, because users have freedom in using it.

In the long run, how many people pay for free software is determined mainly by how much free software can do, and how easy it is to use.


Share-alike is a copyright licensing term, originally used by the Creative Commons project, to describe works or licences that require copies or adaptations of the work to be released under the same or similar licence as the original

Free content and software licences without the share-alike requirement are described as permissive licences.


Copyleft (a play on the word copyright) is also known as:

  • libre share-alike.
  • or reciprocal license

Copyleft licenses are free (content or software) licenses with a share-alike condition.

It is the practice of offering people the right to freely distribute copies and modified versions of a work with the stipulation that the same rights be preserved in derivative works down the line.

Example of Licenses that are copyleft:

  • for free content: the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licences
  • for free software: the GNU General Public License.


  • Software under the GPLv3 licence need to be licenced under the GPLv3 licences. It goes in one direction. It's a copyleft licenses. You cannot include a GPLv3 in a closed software. See
  • An advertising clause is incompatible with the GPL, which does not allow the addition of restrictions beyond those it already imposes

Derivative: The only value you can offer is premium support and automatic updates.

Part of this license outlines requirements for derivative works, such as plugins or themes. 
Derivatives of WordPress code inherit the GPL license. 
If I write a module or theme, do I have to license it under the GPL?


The LGPL license (GNU Lesser General Public License):

  • every change made to the platform code must also be distributed under LGPL.
  • External programs that talk to the code through other means don't have to be LGPL, any license is acceptable. This includes custom components, plugins, ….


A Permissive software license is also known under the term:

  • BSD-like
  • or BSD-style license,

Well-known examples of permissive free software licenses include:

  • the MIT License (Do what you want, just gives attribution),
  • BSD licenses
  • and the Apache license.

As of 2015, the most popular FOSS license is the permissive MIT license.[3][4]


The MIT license 1) is perhaps the most open of all. It effectively puts the work in the public domain. It explicitly gives permission, “without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sub license, and/or sell copies of the Software.” The only condition is that the full copyright notice (which declares no warranty or liability) be included. Work released under the MIT license can be used for anything, including commercial and proprietary software.


Business Source License

The BSL is alternative between fully open and fully proprietary

The BSL:

  • will change of license in the future where:
    • the data of change is defined in the change date
    • the new licence is defined in the Change License paramaters
  • has additional requirement that are defined in the Additional Use Grant where a licence is mandatory.

Example for a Wiki software

Additional Use Grant: You may make use of the Licensed Work, provided that
                      you may not use the Licensed Work for a Document

                      A “Document Service” is a commercial offering that
                      allows third parties (other than your employees and
                      contractors) to access the functionality of the
                      Licensed Work by creating teams and documents
                      controlled by such third parties.

Change Date:          2023-12-13

Change License:       Apache License, Version 2.0

Why not completely open

Documentation / Reference

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