License compatibility

License compatibility is a legal framework that allows for pieces of software with different software licenses to be distributed together. The need for such a framework arises because the different licenses can contain contradictory requirements, rendering it impossible to legally combine source code from separately-licensed software in order to create and publish a new program.[1][2][failed verification] Proprietary licenses are generally program-specific and incompatible; authors must negotiate to combine code. Copyleft licenses are commonly deliberately incompatible with proprietary licenses, in order to prevent copyleft software from being re-licensed under a proprietary license, turning it into proprietary software. Many copyleft licenses explicitly allow relicensing under some other copyleft licenses. Permissive licenses are (with minor exceptions) compatible with everything, including proprietary licenses; there is thus no guarantee that all derived works will remain under a permissive license.[3]

  1. ^ O'Riordan, Ciaran (10 November 2006). "How GPLv4 tackles license proliferation". Archived from the original on 18 December 2007.
  2. ^ Neary, Dave (15 February 2012). "Gray areas in software licensing". Eklektix. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  3. ^ Stallman, Richard (29 December 2021). "License Compatibility and Relicensing". GNU. Archived from the original on 24 October 2023.

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