Subject: Academic Free License version 2.0
From: "Lawrence E. Rosen" <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 18:05:41 -0700

To License-Discuss (and others interested persons on BCC):

Version 2.0 of the Academic Free License (AFL) is hereby submitted for
your review and for the approval of the OSI Board of Directors.  It can
be found at

Most academic-style licenses follow the BSD model -- short, generous and
uncomplicated.  [See]
Simply put, academic licenses permit derivative works to become a part
of other software, including proprietary software, for any purpose
whatsoever.  Unfortunately, those licenses often omit many details,
leaving to the imagination how certain things are to work in an open
source/proprietary world.

The AFL fills in those gaps.  It addresses issues of patent, trademark,
warranty, jurisdiction and venue, contributor recognition, etc., in ways
entirely consistent with the "BSD" philosophy of open source.
AFL-licensed software can be used in combination with any other
software, open source *or* proprietary, for any purpose whatsoever,
including to create derivative works.

This new version of the AFL also helps eliminate possible confusion
between academic-style licenses and reciprocal licenses [see, for
example, the GPL,, and the Open Software
License (OSL),].  Reciprocity requires that
any Derivative Works be licensed under the same license as the Original
Work.  Reciprocal and non-reciprocal open source licenses ought to be
the same -- except with respect to provisions dealing with reciprocity.

Therefore, the new AFL is identical to the OSL except that the AFL does
not contain a reciprocity provision.  A redlined comparison of AFL2.0
and OSL2.0 is at  When you
suggest changes to the AFL, please consider how that language would read
in the OSL, and vice versa.  

Suggestions regarding both AFL2.0 and OSL2.0 will be welcomed.  Feel
free to ask questions or complain here on license-discuss.  The OSI
board of directors needs your input before they decide whether to
approve these licenses.  

In the meantime, I encourage you to think about using the Academic Free
License version 2.0 instead of the BSD, MIT and Apache licenses, and
their variants, that have proliferated on OSI's approved license list.

/Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm
General counsel, Open Source Initiative
3001 King Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
707-485-1242 * fax: 707-485-1243

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