WWW FAQs: How should I license my work?

2004-08-25: The Creative Commons organization offers a variety of licenses designed to help individuals and organizations share their work over the long haul, while retaining the specific rights they need to earn a living from it. These licenses are particularly well suited to writers, musicians, photographers, filmmakers and others who want to find a good compromise between sharing their work freely and making a reasonable profit, or who simply want to share their work freely while ensuring that others do not profit from it unfairly.

For computer software, including nontrivial scripts, the "Artistic License" covers the Perl programming language interpreter, and the GNU General Public License covers the Linux operating system kernel.

Both of these licenses allow third parties to use the work of the original artist very freely; however, if a third party makes changes to the work, the GNU General Public License requires those changes to be released under the very same license -- and shared with the world, just like the original work. It is also common to see licenses that grant free use for noncommercial purposes only.

All of these licenses, of course, depend on copyright law for their legal enforcement. For more information, see how do I copyright my website?

Legal Note: yes, you may use sample HTML, Javascript, PHP and other code presented above in your own projects. You may not reproduce large portions of the text of the article without our express permission.

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