Free World Licence

The Free World Licence V1 (Annotated)

Here is the annotated version of Version 1 of the Free World Licence. Each clause of the licence is presented in the left column with the corresponding annotation in the right column. Each clause is also marked with a hyperlink target tag so you can hyperlink to individual clauses if you wish. There is also an official plain text version which is the version you should use if you want to take a copy.

IMPORTANT: These annotations do not form part of The Free World Licence, nor do they constitute legal advice by Ross N. Williams or any other party, and accordingly they are not intended to be, nor should be relied upon as, a substitute for legal or other professional advice in relation to The Free World Licence. Where there is a conflict between these annotations and the licence itself, the text of the licence prevails.

Clauses Comments
THE FREE WORLD LICENCE V1 The licence is called "The Free World Licence" because it allows the software it licenses to be run on free platforms only (i.e. the free, as opposed to the proprietary, software world). Note that it's spelt "Licence" (noun) rather than "License" (verb).
Version : 1.
Date : 12 August 2000.
Author : Ross N. Williams (
Copyright : Copyright (c) Ross N. Williams 2000.
All rights reserved.
Contact information. This licence is created, copyrighted, and managed by me (Ross Williams) personally.
Licence : You are permitted to copy, distribute, and use verbatim copies of this licence document, but you may not modify it. However, you may copy and modify clauses of this licence for use in your own licence of a different name. It's important that the term "Free World Licence" have a clear definition and mean a specific thing. If the licence could be modified, it would lead to confusion. However, I don't want to stop people from using my words to make up their own licences, particularly as I have benefited by copying clauses from other licences.
Branding : The author requests that the term "Free World Licence" be used only to refer to verbatim copies of this licence. It's important to protect the name of the licence so as to avoid confusion.
Warning : This licence does not constitute legal advice by Ross N. Williams or any other party, and accordingly it is not intended to be, nor should it be relied upon as, a substitute for legal or other professional advice. If you use this Licence, you do so at your own risk. This clause is to protect me from lawsuits from people who use the licence and then are burned by some unforeseen defect in it.
Note : Because this licence permits use on free platforms only, it does not satisfy the requirements for use of the term "open source" as it is informally defined on the web site In order to avoid confusion, this licence should not be referred to as an "open source" licence and software released under this licence should not be referred to as "open source". Apparently, an attempt was made to register "Open Source" as a US certification trademark, but it failed because the term was considered too general. This means that there is nothing really stopping anyone from applying the term to any licence. Nevertheless, given than the Open Source movement has gone to the trouble of defining the term and binding it to the ten rules of the Open Source Definition, it seems courteous to use the term only as defined. As The Free World Licence does not conform to the ten rules, the term "Open Source" should not be applied to The Free World Licence. For more details see the Rejected by Eric Raymond page.
Thanks : Parts of this licence are based on parts of the GNU GPL, with permission. Thanks also to Adrian Tembel for insightful legal debugging, and to Dan Shearer and Marc Leeuwen for helpful comments. The GNU GPL inspired much of the machinery of this licence and some clauses of this licence are based directly on clauses in the GNU GPL. Adrian Tembel (Adelaide) is my commercial lawyer. He is a partner of the law firm Thomson Playford. Dan Shearer (Adelaide) works for LinuxCare. Marc Leeuwen (France) is an academic. All provided detailed helpful comments.
Abstract: This is a free-software licence that provides all the conventional free-software freedoms, but restricts them to free platforms only (the "Free World"). This licence, which may be used by anyone, is suitable for commercial software vendors who want to contribute to the free software community and experiment with free-software business models without destroying their existing commercial-platform licensing revenue stream. It may also be suitable for free-software developers who do not want their software to enhance the functionality of non-free platforms. Uniquely, the licence is suitable both for proprietary software developers who want to experiment with free software, and free-software developers who do not want their software to add value to the platforms of proprietary commercial vendors!
Form Of Invocation
The suggested form of invocation of this licence in your source code is:

Copyright (c) [YourName] [Year]. All rights reserved. To the extent permitted by law, all liability is excluded, including contractual, tort and other forms. You are permitted to copy and distribute this module on Free Platforms only, subject to the terms and conditions of the Free World Licence V1 which can be found at the website [YourName] is the Original Licensor and can be contacted at: [Your name] ([Your email address]) [Your web address] [Your postal address]

If you are releasing a complete program, the suggested form of notice that the program should display to its user is:

Copyright (c) [YourName] [Year]. All rights reserved. To the extent permitted by law, all liability is excluded, including contractual, tort and other forms. This program may be run on Free Platforms only. By running this program twice, you agree to the terms and conditions of The Free World Licence V1 (

This section provides guidelines for how to invoke the licence.
Definitions This section contains definitions of terms, and most importantly, the definition of the term "Free Platform".
1.1 CONTRACT: The terms "Licence" and "Contract" are used interchangeably to refer to this document and the relationship it defines.
1.2 EXECUTABLE: A work, or derived work, capable of being executed on a Platform without further translation.
1.3 FIRMWARE: Firmware is defined to be any software residing in computer chips (not mass storage devices) of one megabyte or less that is undamaged when the computer is disconnected from its power supply and which cannot be replaced or altered without having to disconnect the computer from its power supply, open the computer, and manually perform a physical hardware modification. This definition has been carefully crafted to exclude RAM, EEPROMs, CD-ROMs and other forms of memory that can be read, written or replaced while the computer is running. The 1M limit covers the case of operating system vendors switching to shipping their operating system entirely in firmware.
1.4 FREE PLATFORM: A Free Platform is defined to be any Platform whose software component satisfies all of the following conditions technically, legally, and free of charge for all entities: a. complete Executables can be downloaded from the internet; b. complete Source Code can be downloaded from the internet; c. the software may be used for any purpose; d. the software may be modified, and modified versions used; e. modifications and modified versions may be publicly shared under the same terms; f. these freedoms apply to both Executables and Source Code; g. these freedoms are granted irreversibly for the particular version of the Platform in question; the Platform's licence must not contain termination clauses triggered by anything other than the wish of the licensee or formally defined breaches of the licence's conditions relating directly to the intellectual property of the Platform software. Exception: The incorporation of non-free device drivers, and other directly hardware-related software does not in itself cause a Platform to be classified as non-free. The following is an informal categorization of some existing Platforms. This categorization is subordinate to the definition above: Free : GNU/Linux (often called just "Linux"), FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, GNU/HURD, FreeDOS, MINIX. Non-Free : MS-DOS, Windows95, Windows98, WindowsNT, Windows2000, MacOS, AIX, IRIX, Tru64 Unix, SunOS, Solaris, OpenVMS, HP-UX, BSD/OS, Plan 9, VMware and other non-free software that emulates hardware and/or emulates free platforms. See also PLATFORM. Note: Many of these platform names are trademarks of their respective owners. These conditions were difficult to draft! The exception is because some hardware manufacturers ship proprietary drivers with their devices and it seems inappropriate to classify a platform as non-free just because of that. Note that a non-free platform that is running an emulator of a free platform does not qualify as a free platform, as the non-free operating system is required in order to run the emulator. Hardware implementations of non-free platforms qualify as free platforms so long as the software component of the system qualifies. Permanent storage of a platform is not a "hardware implementation", but a chipset implementation of a virtual machine is.
1.5 LICENCE: The terms "Licence" and "Contract" are used interchangeably to refer to this document and the relationship it defines.
1.6 LICENSOR: Licensor is the entity that is granting a licence under this Licence. The Licensor will usually also be the copyright holder. The Licensor may also be the Original Licensor. This licence distinguishes between the Original Licensor who first releases the software, and those who modify and enhance the software subsequently. As with the GPL and any other free license, the Original Licensor can release his code under as many licences as he wishes.
1.7 LICENSEE: Licensee is the entity that is being granted a licence under this Licence.
1.8 MODULE: A component of a computer program, and the unit of licensing under this Licence. A module's source code consists of a single source file, or a small cluster of very closely related source files (e.g. in C, module.h and module.c). "The Module" means the module that is the subject of this licence, and includes any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Module or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. Hereinafter, translation (including compilation) is included without limitation in the term "modification". An executable or object code module is a derivative work of each Module from which it was derived. The unit of licensing of the GNU GPL is the "program", but the FWL uses a finer granularity because, in practice, copyright notices and licences appear in, and are attached to, individual source files that may be used in more than one program.
1.9 NOTICE: A message within a Module, or associated with a Module or Program containing the Module. This means a comment containing a copyright notice or a notice of change or a similar such notice.
1.10 ORIGINAL LICENSOR: The entity that first created/released the Module under this Licence. This is usually the copyright holder. If several entities contribute modifications to a Module, then each entity holds copyright over its modification, and licenses those modifications to the public under this Licence. All of those entities are Licensors of the Module, but only the original creator/releaser is the Original Licensor. This licence distinguishes between the Original Licensor who first releases the software, and those who modify and enhance the software subsequently.
1.11 OFFICIAL: Something is Official if it is provided or endorsed by the Original Licensor. Under this licence, the Original Licensor has special powers. The Artistic Licence is an example of another licence that provides special rights for the software originator.
1.12 PLATFORM: A collection of hardware, software and interfaces that together constitute a software execution environment. For the purposes of this Licence, the software component of a Platform is defined to be the minimum set of software required to enable the execution of the Module (or the derived work containing the Module) and does not include Firmware as defined above. See also FREE PLATFORM. Thus, the definition of a platform varies with the requirements of the software running on it. Firmware is excluded, but has quite a tight definition (see its definition above).
1.13 PROGRAM: A collection of one or more Modules that together constitute an operational piece of software that can be run on at least one Platform.
1.14 SOURCE CODE: The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the Platform on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable. This definition is derived from the definition in the GNU GPL.
1.15 THIRD PARTY WORK: A work that can reasonably be considered independent and separate to the Module.
1.16 YOU: The Licensee.
Framing By "framing" is meant the nature and context of the licence. This section contains clauses that define the overall nature of the licence.
2.1 CONTRACT: This Licence is a legal contract between you and the Original Licensor (and possibly between you and other contributing Licensors too). As you are not obliged to accept this Contract without becoming aware of its existence and then indicating your agreement to it, you are free to receive and store a copy of the Module on your computer for an undefined grace period. However, in the absence of some other licensing agreement with Original Licensor, this Licence forms the only basis for your continued use of the Module, and by performing any of the following actions, you indicate your formal acceptance of this Licence and you enter into a contract with Original Licensor (and possibly with other contributing Licensors too): (a) Executing the Module, or any Program incorporating the Module, more than once (see clause 4.9); (b) Modifying the Module or creating a derived work of the Module; (c) Passively or actively copying or distributing the Module; (d) Failing to delete the Module from your computer within three days of becoming specifically aware of the Module's presence on your computer and its coverage by this Licence. This is a critical clause. Whereas the GNU GPL takes the form of a copyright licence, The Free World Licence takes the form of a contract. This construction is necessary to ensure that the no-warranty and no-liability clauses are activated, and to ensure that the clause restricting execution to free platforms has teeth. A copyright licence alone cannot implement these conditions because the powers of copyright provided to an author under copyright law do not extend to warranty and liability and program execution. The disadvantage of using contract form is that it is necessary to ensure that the contract has been made. The contract activation conditions given here are designed to provide the greatest flexibility of distribution while still ensuring that a user cannot use the software without invoking the contract.
2.2 SUBJECT OF LICENCE: This Licence applies to any Module, or other work, that contains a notice placed by the work's copyright holder (or entity authorized by the copyright holder) saying that it may be distributed under the terms of this Licence. If no licence version number is provided in the notice, the version of this Licence is applicable that was most current at the time the Module was first released under this Licence. This clause defines the conditions under which this licence will be referenced.
2.3 CONSIDERATION: In exchange for this Licence, you agree to accept the terms and conditions of this Licence, including agreement to license to Original Licensor any bugfixes and minor modifications that you release, as described in clause 5.8. As this licence takes the form of a contract (see 2.1), there should be some form of consideration. In this contract, the consideration extracted by the Licensor is that the terms and conditions will be adhered to and that, in particular, released modifications will be licensed to the Original Licensor.
2.4 SCOPE: This Licence covers only the activities of copying, executing, distributing, and modifying (creating derived works) the Module. All other activities are outside its scope. Module output is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Module (independent of having been made by running the Module). Whether that is true depends on what the Module does. This scoping clause provides some explicit comfort to those nervous about the potential content of this licence.
2.5 LICENCE, NOT SALE: The Module is licensed, not sold, to you for use only under the terms and conditions of this Contract, and Licensor reserves all rights not expressly granted to you. This Contract does not grant you any rights to copyright, patents, trade secrets, trade names, trademarks (whether registered or unregistered), or any other rights, franchises, or licences (apart from the express licence granted by this Contract) in respect of the Module, or collection of Modules similarly licensed. When you buy a book, it become your physical property. Copyright law may define some conditions on whether you can make copies of the book, but it does not alter your right to treat the book as your private property and to sell it. The GNU GPL operates under this model. In contrast, if a work is licensed under contract, rather than being sold, then the use of the work is governed by the terms of the licence and as the licence is a contract, it is capable of containing almost any terms. This clause in The Free World Licence states that the software is licensed under contract, not sold, and also that the intellectual property associated with the software remains in the originator's hands.
2.6 WARRANT OF RIGHTS: Original Licensor warrants that it has sufficient copyright rights to the Module to license it to you under this Licence. However, due to the uncertainty associated with other forms of intellectual property, Original Licensor does not warrant that it has sufficient patent or other rights, apart from copyright, to license the Module. If people are going to commit their time to improving software released under this licence, then they had better receive some assurance that the person that released the software under this licence had the right to do so! The purpose of this clause is to provide a legal disincentive for people to release, under this licence, software in which they do not hold copyright rights.
Own Use This section provides the clauses that define the conditions under which the software may be used. In particular, this section contains a clause to restrict execution on non-free platforms.
3.1 PLATFORM RESTRICTION ON EXECUTION: You may execute the Module on any Free Platform. You may not execute the Module on any non-Free Platform. This is the key clause that implements the restriction to free platforms.
3.2 PLATFORM RESTRICTION ON DERIVED WORKS: You may not generate, copy, distribute or endorse object code or an executable that incorporates the Module and which can run on one or more non-Free Platforms, unless the object code or executable was generated on a Free Platform, can run unmodified on at least one Free Platform, and has interoperability as a natural consequence of the relationship between the architectures of the Free and non-Free Platforms rather than as the result of an engineering effort (e.g. using two bodies of code in the same executable) designed to circumvent this clause. This clause prevents the creation of executables that can run on a non-free platform. Without this clause, people could make executables for non-free platforms publicly available on the internet, and the Licensor would have no way of stopping them. The last part covers the special case of interoperable free and non-free platforms.
Distribution This section covers the distribution of the software.
4.1 COPYING OF SOURCE: You may copy and distribute copies of the Module's source code, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish (or retain) on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this Licence and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Module a copy of this Licence along with the Module (or collection of Modules similarly licensed). You must also adhere to the other terms and conditions of this Contract. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and implements the requirements for propagation of the source code. In particular, it requires a copy of this licence to follow the source code around so as to ensure that recipients are made aware of their rights.
4.2 COPYING OF EXECUTABLES: You may copy and distribute copies of object code and executables (that incorporate the Module) for Free Platforms only, providing that you include a copy of this Licence, and that you either include the source code for the Module or instructions on how to download a publicly available copy of the source code for the Module (or Program or collection of modules containing the Module) from the internet free of charge and provided under this Licence. You must also adhere to the other terms and conditions of this Contract. This clause ensures that recipients of the software in executable form can always obtain a copy of the source code for the executable.
4.3 CHARGING FOR DISTRIBUTION: You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy of the Module. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and provides distributors of the software with the freedom to charge for their distribution service. This is not the same as charging a copyright licence fee.
4.4 CHARGING FOR WARRANTY PROTECTION: You may offer warranty protection on the Module in exchange for a fee. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and provides distributors of the software with the freedom to provide a commercial support service for the software.
4.5 ORIGINAL LICENSOR CONTACT INFO: Original Licensor must provide, along with any notice indicating that this Licence applies, appropriate contact information so as to enable Licensees to send Original Licensor changes and to contact Original Licensor about issues relating to this Licence. Original Licensor should provide at least its name, postal address, email address, and website address. This clause is designed to ensure that those releasing software under this licence provide enough information to enable people to contact them.
4.6 INTEGRATION: Where you distribute a Third Party Work as part of a whole that contains the Module, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this Licence, whose permissions for other Licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it. However, this restriction does not apply to such Third Party Works when they are distributed as separate works. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and serves to ensure that the terms of this agreement cannot be subverted by mixing the software with software released under other licences. The definition of "mixing" is defined by this clause and the next clause. Note that this clause does not refer to derived works (as the corresponding clause in the GNU GPL does) as, in this licence, derived works are included in the definition of "Module".
4.7 AGGREGATION: Mere aggregation of another work not based on the Module with the Module on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this Licence. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and ensures that the previous clause does not exclude a distributor from shipping software released under various licences on the same volume.
4.8 REPRESENTATION OF RIGHTS: In interacting with a third party in relation to the Module under this Contract, you may not explicitly or implicitly represent that they have more or less rights than are provided to them under this Licence. For example, you may not imply, when distributing the Module, that the Module is conventionally-commercial software (implication of less rights), and you may not imply that the Module is public domain (implication of more rights). Similarly, you may not imply that the Module may legally be run on a non-free Platform (e.g. by distributing it under the implicit or explicit representation that it is for use on one or more non-free Platforms). In particular, this clause prevents people from selling free software for a large "copying fee", representing it as commercial software, and having the recipient later discover that they could have copied the software off the internet for free! The problem this clause is intended to solve may also be covered by local commercial law relating to representations. However, it's prudent to make it explicit given the potential for subtle misrepresentation in relation to free software.
4.9 STARTUP NOTICES: If a work based on the Module is distributed as part of a whole that has an interactive interface, then that interface must display (in a startup notice, "about" box, or similar) a notice that includes: (a) an appropriate copyright notice; (b) a notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide a warranty); (c) a notice that the software is covered by this Licence; (d) a notice telling the user how to view a copy of this licence; and (e) a notice that by running the software twice, the user is explicitly agreeing to this Licence (see clause 2.1). If the work does not have an interactive interface (e.g. traditionally "silent" Unix utilities) then you must configure the distribution so as to ensure that the user is made aware of these notices before the user runs the program for the second time. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and ensures that users of the software are made aware of their rights. An additional clause (e), specific to this licence, also serves a very important role in supporting the contract form of this licence, as it creates the awareness of the contract in the user's mind and notifies the user that running the program more than once is an action that executes the contract.
4.10 INTEGRITY: If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this Licence, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this Licence. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this Licence and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Module at all. For example, if a patent licence would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Module by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this Licence would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Module. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and protects the integrity of the licence in the face of various legal pressures.
4.11 ACKNOWLEDGMENT: The end-user documentation included with any distribution of this software must include the following acknowledgement:

"This product includes software developed by Original-Licensor (Original-Licensor's-Web-Address)."

where you should substitute the Original Licensor's name and web address as appropriate. Alternately, this acknowledgment may appear in the software itself, if and wherever such third-party acknowledgments normally appear.

This clause is derived from the Apache Licence and is designed to ensure that an entity receives credit for software that it contributes. If company X creates some software and releases it under The Free World Licence, and then company Y copies the software and starts distributing it under a different name, this clause ensures that company X must be given explicit credit by company Y. This clause ensures that X's contribution cannot be completely buried by Y.
Modification This section covers the modification of the software.
5.1 GRANT OF MODIFICATION: You may modify your copy or copies of the Module or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Module, and copy and distribute such modifications or work in accordance with clauses 4.1 and 4.2, providing that you conform to all the other terms and conditions of this Contract. This clause provides the grounding for modifying the software, but subject to the other conditions of the licence, including the ones below.
5.2 LICENCE ENFORCEMENT: You must not remove or disable parts of the Module that notify, support or enforce the terms and conditions of this Licence. It makes sense, when releasing a highly portable software product under this licence, to include code that causes an error to occur if an attempt is made to compile the product on a non-free platform. This clause prohibits people from removing such licence-supporting code.
5.3 NOTICE PERMANENCE: You may not remove any notice of proprietary rights (e.g. notices of copyright, patent, trademark, trade name), or any other legal or other notice, from the Module. This clause ensures that notices added to the module cannot be removed. This ensures that the genealogy of the module and its modification history will be carried along with the module.
5.4 MODIFICATION NOTICES: If you modify the Module, you must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices, providing, for each change, your name, the date of the change, your email address, and a brief summary of each change. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and ensures that changes made to the source code are documented in the source code itself. This ensures that someone can determine a module's history by reading the notices in the module.
5.5 PROGRAM MODIFICATION NOTICES: If Original Licensor released the Module as part of a Program, and the Module has been modified since it was released by Original Licensor, and the Program has an interactive interface, then that interface must display (in a startup notice, "about" box, or similar) a notice stating that the Program has been modified since its Official release, a statement that an official version is available, and sufficient online contact information (e.g. official web address) for obtaining the Official version, as provided by Original Licensor. If someone modifies a module that forms part of a program, it's important that users be informed that the program has been modified, otherwise they might associate attributes of the program (e.g. its bugginess) with the official version of the program. This clause serves to protect the good name of the original. It also ensures that users can always obtain the original, even if they have received a seventh generation executable and no source code.
5.6 NAMING EXECUTABLES AND DISTRIBUTION FILES: If Original Licensor released the Module as part of a Program, and the Module has been modified since it was released by Original Licensor, then all modified executables and distribution archive files must be given a different name from the Official name. For example, if the Program is called Gnomovision, then you could name your executable and distribution file gnomovision-banana.exe and The different name must not imply that the variant is Official (e.g. "Gnomovision-Deluxe", "Gnomovision-Pro" or "Gnomovision-V5"). This clause is subordinate to the powers of trademarks wielded by Original Licensor. The purpose of this clause is to ensure that executables released by the software's originator (the "Original Licensor") can be distinguished from variants released by others. One of the purposes of this clause is to ensure that those who search the internet for the software will be able to distinguish the official from the non-official versions, based on the filenames alone.
5.7 TRADEMARK: If Original Licensor released the Module, under this Licence, as part of a complete Program, and the Program's name is protected by trademark, Original Licensor should issue a licence for use of the trademark, and you must conform to its terms and conditions or rename your variation of the Program. This clause is here to remind those releasing software under this licence that they must make well-defined decisions about any trademarks covering the program.
5.8 MINOR MODIFICATION LICENSEBACK: If you apply a self-contained modification that adds or modifies at most twenty (possibly non-contiguous) lines of code in the Module, or apply a simple systematic transformation throughout the Module (e.g. correcting a systemic spelling error), then upon releasing such modification, you automatically grant to Original Licensor a non-exclusive royalty-free unrestricted worldwide licence to distribute and/or license the modification (and hence the modified Module) under terms of the Original Licensor's choosing. The purpose of this clause is to allow bugfixes and minor enhancements to be incorporated into commercial releases of the Module. Contributors to free software do not take kindly to having their contributions sold in a proprietary commercial form and this licence protects those contributors (and the software itself) in much the same way as the GNU GPL does. However, it makes sense for bugfixes and other minor modifications to flow back into the Original Licensor's proprietary commercial version (if any), and so this clause formalizes that flow. This flow of bugfixes and minor enhancements is one incentive for companies to release their software under The Free World Licence. Note that this clause does not burden the user with the need to disclose private modifications made to the software or to send Original Licensor any modifications that are released. It merely allows provides an automatic licence to the Original Licensor of any released modifications of which the Original Licensor becomes aware.
5.9 ALL-PLATFORM CONVERSION: If you apply a modification to the Module, then upon releasing such modification you automatically grant a public licence to the modification under this Licence, and also under this Licence but with the definition of "Free Platform" relaxed to include all platforms. The purpose of this clause is to enable the Original Licensor (at a later date) to relax the platform restriction without having to obtain permission from each contributor/Licensor. However, until the Original Licensor releases the original Module under the relaxed licence, the modified Module does not fall under the relaxed licence. This clause allows the Original Licensor to relax the free-platform restriction at a later date, even if there have been many contributors.
5.10 GNU CONVERSION: If you apply a modification to the Module, then upon releasing such modification you automatically grant a public licence to the modification under all versions (including future versions) of the GNU General Public Licence (as published by the Free Software Foundation ( The purpose of this clause is to enable the Original Licensor (at a later date) to convert the Module's licensing over to a GNU GPL without having to obtain GNU GPL permission from each contributor/Licensor. However, until the Original Licensor releases the original Module under a GNU GPL, the modified Module does not fall under the GNU GPL. This clause allows the Original Licensor to convert the program's licence to GNU GPL at a later date.
5.11 IMMUTABILITY: You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Module except as expressly provided under this Licence. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Module is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this Licence. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this Licence will not have their licences terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and is basically a "catch all" clause to catch unforeseen attempts to subvert this licence.
5.12 TRANSITIVITY: You must cause any work (and each Module in any work) that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Module or any part thereof, to be licensed at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this Licence. Each time you redistribute the Module, the recipient automatically receives an offer from Original Licensor and all subsequent Licensors to accept this Contract and thereby obtain the right to execute, copy, distribute or modify the Module subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. This very important clause is derived from the GNU GPL and ensures that the rights granted by the Original Licensor will survive as the software is passed from person to person.
5.13 PATENTS OWNED BY LICENSOR: Where Licensor owns (or has licensed) patents that relate to the Module, Licensor must prominently and appropriately list in the Module's source code and documentation (using the word "patent") formal references to each patent. Failure to do this constitutes (to the extent permitted by Licensor's powers in relation to the patent) an implicit free public licence to use the patent in the form of the Module and derived works of the Module under this Licence. This clause is designed to prevent people from releasing software under The Free World Licence, allowing their software to become popular and widely relied upon, and then announcing that it is covered by a patent and demanding royalties. This clause ensures that the source code and documentation must contain a notice of the existence of any patents owned by those originating or contributing to the software.
5.14 PATENT GEOGRAPHICAL EXCLUSIONS: If the distribution and/or use of the Module is restricted in certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, Licensor may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among countries not thus excluded. In such case, this Licence incorporates the limitation as if written in the body of this Licence. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and effectively implements an exception to the twin jaws of clauses 4.10 ("INTEGRITY") and 5.11 ("TRANSITIVITY") that would otherwise exclude such exclusions.
5.15 INTERACTION WITH OTHER LICENCES: If you wish to integrate parts of the Module with other modules whose distribution conditions are different, contact the Licensor(s) to ask for permission. This clause serves no useful purpose except to remind the reader that the Licensor may be open to negotiation to vary the terms of this agreement.
No Warranty Or Liability This section contains legal protection clauses the ward of lawsuits relating to damage caused by the software.
6.3 INDEMNITY: IF YOU BREACH ANY PART OF THIS CONTRACT, YOU INDEMNIFY ORIGINAL LICENSOR (AND ALL SUBSEQUENT LICENSORS) AGAINST ANY CLAIMS THAT ARISE AS A DIRECT OR INDIRECT CONSEQUENCE OF SUCH BREACH. The purpose of this clause is to ensure that if someone undermines some of the mechanisms that support the legal safety features of this licence, that they are liable. For example, if someone removes the no-warranty and no-liability notices from this licence and then passes the software on, and the software causes harm, then they are liable, not the Original Licensor.
Additional Legalities This section contains miscellaneous clauses that didn't fit anywhere else.
7.1 NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIRD PARTY COMPLIANCE: You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this Licence. This clause is derived from the GNU GPL and relieves distributors of the burden of monitoring the behaviour of those to whom they distribute the software.
7.2 SUGGESTIONS: By making a suggestion (in relation to the Module, a derived work of the Module, or a Third Party enclosing Work) to Original Licensor or its representatives, you thereby grant Original Licensor permission to use that suggestion, free of charge, in any way it chooses. This clause ensures that the Original Licensor can take advantage of ideas suggested to him, without future legal entanglement.
7.3 USE OF LICENSOR'S NAME: Neither the name of the Original Licensor, nor the names of the Module's contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission. This clause protects the use of the name of contributors.
7.4 TERMINATION: You may terminate this Licence at any time by deleting all copies of the Module (and works derived from the module) in your possession. However, such deletion does not necessarily constitute a remedy for a prior breach. The No Warranty, No Liability, and Indemnity clauses survive termination. Termination does not extend to parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this Licence so long as such parties remain in full compliance. It's important to ensure that users know they can ditch the software at any time, just by deleting it.
7.5 SEVERANCE: If any section of this Licence is held invalid or unenforceable under any particular circumstance, the balance of the section is intended to apply and the section as a whole is intended to apply in other circumstances. This is an ordinary severance clause and serves to ensure that each part of the licence stands independently of the other parts.
7.6 ENTIRE AGREEMENT: This Contract contains the entire agreement between the parties hereto with respect to the specific licence granted under this Contract, and supersedes all such prior agreements and/or understandings (oral or written). This is an ordinary entire agreement clause except that it covers only this "specific licence". The reason for this qualification is that a licensee under this agreement might already have purchased a commercial version of the software, and it would be unwise for this clause to override any such agreement.
7.7 WAIVERS NOT PRECEDENT: Failure or delay by Licensor in enforcing any right or provision hereof shall not be deemed a waiver of such provision or right with respect to the instance or any subsequent breach. This is an ordinary waiver clause and ensures that a Licensor who is too busy to enforce the licence can prosecute breaches at a later date.
7.8 LEGAL SYSTEM: This Contract will be construed under the laws of the state and country in which Licensor resides, except for that body of law dealing with conflict of law; Licensee consents to jurisdiction in the state and federal courts located in the state and country in which Licensor resides. This clause protects the Licensor by ensuring that if there is any legal action, that it will take place in the Licensor's state rather than on the other side of the planet.

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