Liberal Licenses

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Public licenses for more freedom

those liberties which are supporting his interests on the licensed material. So the licensor shall define (for himself) beforehand which are his interests, purposes, uses etc. on the licensed material (and which not) and then pick a Liberal License that just covers and protects his needs accordingly, but let the licensee enjoy all the possible non-colliding liberties.

The Liberal Licenses support the free distribution of a licensed material and the free non-commercial usage, as well as optionally a limited commercial usage, but the Liberal Licenses do not allow a usage and distribution which clearly impacts on the licensors possibilities to make use of the licensed material - which is the intellectual property of the licensor - e.g. commercial use. The Liberal Licenses grant rights to the licensee as far as possible while protecting the rights of the licensor.

In order to enable fine grained compromises between the licensors and the licensees interests some specific licensing concepts are introduced with the Liberal Licenses.


License parameters

For instance the licensor can define upper limits for the commercial usage of the licensed material. These upper limits allow a restricted commercial usage of the license material, e.g. in case of a software the licensor could allow to use that software for a limited period, by a limited number of users, on a limited number of devices etc. and the licensor could allow to distribute that software (in case of physical media) for a monetary compensation that is limited to the distribution costs. The exact values for the upper limits for the commercial usage are provided by the licensor at the time of the licensing. These values are the actual license parameters applied to the respective Liberal License (text).


Repairs and Improvements

Another concept introduced with the Liberal Licenses is the right to repair the licensed material (this applies only for the Liberal Licenses for works with available sources). Right to repair means that the licensee is allowed to alter the licensed material in order to fix defects in that material or to make it compatible with the environment of the licensee. But it does not allow to alter the licensed material beyond repairs and to distribute these changes, so that the licensor keeps control over the further development of that material, e.g. in case of a software the licensee could fix defects in the source code in order to run (and distribute) the repaired version, but the licensee cannot implement and distribute new features in that software, because that would impact on the licensors abilities to commercialize future versions of that software and to control that intellectual property in general, in contrast to open source licenses which expropriate the licensor in some respects.



Moreover, the Liberal Licenses introduce a blacklist, which is an actual or an imaginary list of countries with a significant lack of realized fundamental freedoms like human rights, civil rights, political rights and democratization, beyond a certain extend. The respective licensed material shall not be used by countries which do not respect sufficiently the fundamental freedoms of the licensor, the licensees and third parties - and most likely also tend to do not respect the copyrights and intellectual property, e.g. due to a flawed rule of law - and the respective licensed material itself shall not be used against the fundamental freedoms of the licensor, the licensees and third parties.



Please see the overview of the key specifications of the Liberal Licenses. This overview is also available as download.

The licensing by Liberal Licenses is liberal in the sense of giving a maximum of freedom, because it

  • protects the liberties of the licensor according to his (commercial) interests on the licensed material; and
  • gives all liberties to the licensee which do not impact on those (economic) liberties of the licensor; and
  • does not allow that countries which do not respect sufficiently fundamental freedoms make (exclusive) use of the licensed material; and
  • therefore restricts the possibility to use licensed material (onesided) against the fundamental freedoms; and
  • takes a firm stand for freedom, justice and fairness in the world.


Learn more about the Liberal Licenses with the frequently asked questions.

For combinations with other licenses please read about the compatibility of Liberal Licenses.


Please find the Liberal Licenses (also in other languages)

The Liberal Licenses are also available as downloads (also in other languages).



These Liberal Licenses are derivative works of the Creative Commons Public Licenses and also licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-SA), so you can feel free to create derivative works of them, and it is appreciated if you create improvements of the Liberal Licenses, under the regulations of the CC BY-SA license and of course choose another name for it!

(For the avoidance of doubt, the Liberal Licenses are not Creative Commons licenses and not authorized by Creative Commons and not connected to Creative Commons.)