A Word About Licenses

The giftfile system supports nonproprietary intellectual works, which anyone can use, copy, modify, and distribute without charge. Authors can make their works public goods by publishing in the public domain, or with an appropriate license.

We were chartered to support nonproprietary works. The works must be public goods, so we do not support licenses in which the publisher retains proprietary rights. For example, we do not support licenses which restrict modification of a certain part of the work, or restrict commercial distribution, or have provisions that let the author retract a work. We also don't support licenses that are customized to a particular jurisdiction. This is a matter of practicality and generality: we envision an international network of giftpools that cooperate to aggregate donations across geographic and currency boundaries. By supporting jurisdiction neutral licenses we can simplify this network.

We are primarily interested in a license as a publisher's statement about the public's rights, rather than as a mechanism to enforce an author's rights. It is not a goal of the project to support works published under every possible license which could be considered nonproprietary. We do not have a process to accept licenses for evaluation. We do not issue any judgment or certification about licenses that come to our attention. There are forums and organizations which are equipped for this kind of role, and we encourage license writers and users to seek them out.

Beyond our own organization's practical limitations, we believe that convergence toward a small set of licenses should be a goal for the community. This philosophy would help minimize incompatibility among nonproprietary works. We recognize that this philosophy presents a hardship for some members of the community.

Please remember that our license policy is not a judgment about the value of any particular project. The world's legal systems may someday abandon the notion that ideas are private property, but meanwhile some of the most valuable and successful projects may find themselves in a difficult position. License divergence within our community will only make things worse for the next generation of works. We hope that the possibility of a working economic infrastructure will give the community the incentive and the resources to tackle these issues.

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