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Contract Source Codes

Open Source License and Usage Types

Different source codes have different licensing rights & terms which might restrict how the source code can be used/reused/distributed and this can often lead to confusion. For best practices, all contract source code holders, publishers and authors are encouraged to also specify the accompanying license for their verified contract source code provided.

The following is a summarized list of the most common licensing schemes available for open source projects, with the "No License" being the most restrictive and "The Unlicensed" fully uncumbered.


  1. No License (None) - Learn More

    When you make a creative work (which includes code), the work is under exclusive copyright by default. Unless you include a license that specifies otherwise, nobody else can copy, distribute, or modify your work without being at risk of take-downs, shake-downs, or litigation. Disallowing use of your code might not be what you intend by "no license." An open-source license (like the below item #3 to #12) allows reuse of your code while retaining copyright.

  2. The Unlicense (Unlicense) - Learn More

    A license with no conditions whatsoever which dedicates works to the public domain. Unlicensed works, modifications, and larger works may be distributed under different terms and without source code.

  3. MIT License (MIT) - Learn More

    A short and simple permissive license with conditions only requiring preservation of copyright and license notices. Licensed works, modifications, and larger works may be distributed under different terms and without source code.

  4. GNU General Public License v2.0 (GNU GPLv2) - Learn More

    The GNU GPL is the most widely used free software license and has a strong copyleft requirement. When distributing derived works, the source code of the work must be made available under the same license. There are multiple variants of the GNU GPL, each with different requirements.

  5. GNU General Public License v3.0 (GNU GPLv3) - Learn More

    Permissions of this strong copyleft license are conditioned on making available complete source code of licensed works and modifications, which include larger works using a licensed work, under the same license. Copyright and license notices must be preserved. Contributors provide an express grant of patent rights.

  6. GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1 (GNU LGPLv2.1) - Learn More

    Primarily used for software libraries, the GNU LGPL requires that derived works be licensed under the same license, but works that only link to it do not fall under this restriction. There are two commonly used versions of the GNU LGPL.

  7. GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0 (GNU LGPLv3) - More Info

    Permissions of this copyleft license are conditioned on making available complete source code of licensed works and modifications under the same license or the GNU GPLv3. Copyright and license notices must be preserved. Contributors provide an express grant of patent rights. However, a larger work using the licensed work through interfaces provided by the licensed work may be distributed under different terms and without source code for the larger work.

  8. BSD 2-clause "Simplified" license (BSD-2-Clause) - More Info

    A permissive license that comes in two variants, the BSD 2-Clause and BSD 3-Clause. Both have very minute differences to the MIT license.

  9. BSD 3-clause "New" Or "Revised" license* (BSD-3-Clause) - More Info

    A permissive license similar to the BSD 2-Clause License, but with a 3rd clause that prohibits others from using the name of the project or its contributors to promote derived products without written consent.

  10. Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPL-2.0) - More Info

    Permissions of this weak copyleft license are conditioned on making available source code of licensed files and modifications of those files under the same license (or in certain cases, one of the GNU licenses). Copyright and license notices must be preserved. Contributors provide an express grant of patent rights. However, a larger work using the licensed work may be distributed under different terms and without source code for files added in the larger work.

  11. Open Software License 3.0 (OSL-3.0) - More Info

    OSL 3.0 is a copyleft license that does not require reciprocal licensing on linked works. It also provides an express grant of patent rights from contributors to users, with a termination clause triggered if a user files a patent infringement lawsuit.

  12. Apache 2.0 (Apache-2.0) - More Info

    A permissive license whose main conditions require preservation of copyright and license notices. Contributors provide an express grant of patent rights. Licensed works, modifications, and larger works may be distributed under different terms and without source code.

  13. GNU Affero General Public License (GNU AGPLv3) - More Info

    Permissions of this strongest copyleft license are conditioned on making available complete source code of licensed works and modifications, which include larger works using a licensed work, under the same license. Copyright and license notices must be preserved. Contributors provide an express grant of patent rights. When a modified version is used to provide a service over a network, the complete source code of the modified version must be made available.

  14. Business Source License (BSL 1.1) - More Info

    The BSL is structured to allow free and open usage for many use cases, and only requires a commercial license by those who make production use of the software, which is typically indicative of an environment that is delivering significant value to a business.