License Zero

sustainable software in the open

License Zero publishes and stewards a few kinds of licenses and license-related agreements, all of which are written to be as short and easy to read as possible.

Public Licenses

The kind of thing you see in LICENSE files. Public licenses give everyone permission to use your software, as long as they follow specific conditions. License Zero supports two public licenses:

Reciprocal License
requires others to share the software they build with your work back to the community, as open source
Noncommercial License
limits commercial use of your software to a 7-day trial period

Private Licenses

License Zero's main function is to sell private licenses on developers' behalf, as their licensing agent.

Private License
gives a specific person permission to use commercially and build closed source, with limited rights to sublicense others


License Zero developers can give away quick, freebie exceptions to the share-back or noncommercial conditions using a standard forms: Licensors may waive the non-commercial and reciprocal conditions of the public licenses with a

gives a specific person permission to ignore the conditions of your private license requiring sharing back or limiting commercial use


License Zero developers can optionally offer to relicense their projects onto permissive open source terms for a one-time fee:

Relicense Agreement
a form contract between a License Zero and a developer for sponsored relicensing of a project onto permissive terms
Permissive License
a short, modern, permissive open source license without conditions to share back or limit commercial use


Sometimes License Zero developers will find it easier to sell exceptions to their public license, or close a relicensing deal, by sending the company a quote:

Waiver Quote
quote a price for a waiver
Relicense Quote
quote a price for relicensing your project on permissive terms