Aug 14

We all know that software licenses are a joke.  They’re overly long, full of complex legalese, and completely indemnify the software manufacturer of any responsibility whatsoever.  Software is perhaps the only mainstream business in the world where it’s both expected and accepted that its products are flawed.

So it’s quite refreshing to see a software license that’s short, to-the-point, and brutally honest:

May 18

Since terrorists have no problem violating the human rights of innocent citizens, it’s difficult to imagine a terrorist being dissuaded by Google’s App Engine Terms of Service:

2. Your Account and Use of the Service

2.1. You must provide accurate and complete registration information any time you register to use the Service. You are responsible for the security of your passwords and for any use of your account. If you become aware of any unauthorized use of your password or of your account, you agree to notify Google immediately.

2.2. Your use of the Service must comply with all applicable laws, regulations and ordinances, including any laws regarding the export of data or software. You agree not to use the Service in the design, development, production, or use of missiles or the design, development, production, stockpiling, or use of chemical or biological weapons.

Jan 15

We all know that today’s software license agreement is a joke.  It’s usually a dozen pages of legaleze that nobody reads and everyone just clicks “Accept” in order to run the software.  The company could be demanding our first born, but we’d be none the wiser.

Turns out that End User License Agreements have been around for a long time.  Here is a “License Agreement” drafted by Thomas Edison for his National Phonograph Company.  Not only does it restrict the product’s use and resale, it also establishes a floor for the market price.  Edison was truly a man before his time.

Continue reading »

Aug 07

Beerware is software that is released under a very liberal license.  The Beerware license provides the end user with the right to use a software program and its source code for any purpose.  Should the user ever meet the program’s author, the user is encouraged to buy the author a beer.

The term was invented by John Bristor in 1987.  Many variations have been implemented, including the short and sweet Beerware license by Poul-Henning Kamp:

 * ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 * "THE BEER-WARE LICENSE" (Revision 42):
 * <phk@FreeBSD.ORG> wrote this file. As long as you retain this notice you
 * can do whatever you want with this stuff. If we meet some day, and you think
 * this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a beer in return Poul-Henning Kamp
 * ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Source: Wikipedia