The Licence Approval Process

Submitted by david_axmark on Mon, 2006-07-24 21:56. ::

Getting a License Approved

  1. Choose a unique title for your license, different from any known titles of licenses. In particular, make it different from any of the existing approved licenses (by name or category). Hint: doing a Google search for "Your License Title" (including the quotes) is useful.
  2. Render the license in two formats: HTML and plain text. Put the HTML version on a web page. We will convert it into the same style as the existing approved licenses. You can help us by publishing it in that style yourself to save us the conversion step.
  3. Create a legal analysis of the license as it complies with the terms of the Open Source Definition. Each paragraph of the license should be followed by an explanation of how the paragraph interacts with each numbered term of the Open Source Definition. The analysis should come from a licensed practitioner of the law in your country. Email this analysis to license-approval at our domain name, This document will remain confidential to the Open Source Initiative.
  4. Prepare an email with three sections as described in the next three paragraphs. Send that email to the license-discuss mailing list (license-discuss at our domain name, The subject of your message should be "For Approval:" followed by the name of your license.
    • Tell us which existing OSI-approved license is most similar to your license. Explain why that license will not suffice for your needs. If your proposed license is derived from a license we have already approved, describe exactly what you have changed. This document is not part of the license; it is solely to help the license-discuss understand and review your license.
    • Explain how software distributed under your license can be used in conjunction with software distributed under other open source licenses. Which license do you think will take precedence for derivative or combined works? Is there any software license that is entirely incompatible with your proposed license?.
    • Include the plain text version of your license at the end of the email, either as an insertion or as an attachment.
  5. You are invited to follow discussion of the licenses by subscribing to [email protected]. This mailing-list is archived here.
  6. If license-discuss mailing list members find that the license does not conform to the Open Source Definition, they will work with you to resolve the problems. Similarly, if we see a problem, we will work with you to resolve any problems uncovered in public comment.
  7. As part of this process, we may also seek outside legal advice on license issues.
  8. Once we are assured that the license conforms to the Open Source Definition and has received thorough discussion on license-discuss or by other reviewers, and there are no remaining issues that we judge significant, we will notify you that the license has been approved, copy it to our website, and add it to the list below.

QUICK FAQ: 1) The board meets as needed and on the first or second Wednesday of every month (the schedule varies, unfortunately). Motions may be entered at any time but resolutions are only passed at scheduled meetings or when all board members have voted via email. 2) You should hear back from us within two months, unless we have unusually heavy travel schedules.