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Guidelines Update (Customization License)

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IchBin™:
Hello all,

We wanted to let you know that the customization team is going to add a simple new requirement to all mods and themes submitted to the simplemachines.org customization site. We're doing this to keep things simple -- to avoid confusion about what community members are and are not allowed to do with your mod or theme.

Did you know that, whenever you create a new mod or theme, you have an exclusive copyright to your own work? International copyright law says that, when you create original work, nobody else has the right to redistribute your work or create a new version of it -- unless you say so.

Not everyone knows this, and this has led to some confusion about what to do with great mods and themes at the SimpleMachines.org customization site when their original authors are no longer able or willing to keep up with them.  Frequently, someone requests permission to be listed as the new author of the mod or theme. But if the original author has not given permission, then it would be against international copyright law for someone else to put a modified version of the mod up on the customization site. And the SMF team does not want to help someone break the law.

On the other hand, we'd like to help the community maintain these great mods. We know that, many times, the original author really would not mind if someone took over an "old" mod.  That's why we think adding this simple requirement will make things less confusing for everyone.

Starting January 1st we are requiring authors to do the following:

* Include a license statement in each of your files (see SMF files for an example). Include the name and link to the license you've chosen in the customization description.
* If you decide you wish to reserve all these rights to yourself, please include a copyright notice, a simple statement that no-one should edit or redistribute your work without your permission. This makes it clear to everyone that you didn't just "forget" to include some kind of permission for others to build upon your work.You may know that Simple Machines and the SMF team, after a long debate, selected the  Open Source license (3-clause BSD License) for SMF 2.0, and has committed to sticking with open-source licenses in the future. We encourage mod and theme authors to use Open Source  licenses for work they submit.  There are several to choose from.

Among the most permissive are the
[*]http://www.opensource.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause
[*]http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Licenses that require those using your code to also share their work have "copyleft" or "share alike" requirements:
[*]http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
[*]http://www.gnu.org/licenses/licenses.html
For more information:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/licenses.html
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/category
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_free_software_licenses
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/03/24/a-short-guide-to-open-source-and-similar-licenses/

Kryzen:
Thanks for the information. So if I'm correct, the statement that you can do whatever you want with softwares that don't have a license is incorrect? But perhaps it would be a good idea to have a page in the customization site that has a few examples of license and a guide how to include them.

Illori:
if a software/code etc does not have a license it is under a closed license and you can not do anything with the code provided.

some licenses are included in the op, you just need to include the text per the license and a link in the header. there is no real strict format required as long as it is included.

Kryzen:
Thanks for pointing that out Illori, I was always told that if a software didn't had a license, you could do anything you want with it. Just to be sure, it is not required to give your software a license, but it's recommended to have one?

Illori:
it is now a requirement that all mods and themes have a license, even if it is simply text that says you dont want anyone to ever touch your mod/theme and they cant build on it etc.

the customization approval guidelines have been updated to include this requirement.

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