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Blog > Finding our OS Content License

Finding our OS Content License

By weaverryan and 1 other | Tech | Sep 13th 2013 |

Finding our OS Content License

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about making KnpUniversity open, transparent, and full of the rainbows and sunshine that come with sharing and collaborating. We already offer the content of our screencasts for free right here on the site. Our hope is that we can make money selling the full package (screencast + in-browser coding activities) while still giving away good content to everyone.

But we want to go further by making the content available on GitHub (done!), which means figuring out how to license it. Of course, this is where things get legal, which means complicated... and boring -_- zzzz.

If you're not too familiar with licenses, I'll give a brief background. But my real goal is to get your opinion! If you're an expert or already bored, at least scroll down to the good part and let us know what you think.

Creative Commons to the Rescue

GitHub has a great site (choosealicense.com) to help you license your code, but not necessarily your content. If you peak at the footer, you'll see that the site itself is licensed as "Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License". In fact, this is also the license used for Symfony's documentation and Creative Commons is the go-to provider of licenses when it comes to protecting content. They even have an awesome license "wizard", which you can see a screenshot of at the top of this post.

But which License is for Us?

There are basically two big decision points to selecting the license:

1) Allow modifications of your work?

Yes! Locking down information is silly, and if someone can improve on our work, more power to them. The license specifies that the modification must attribute the original author, which seems reasonable.

There's also a "Yes, as long as others share alike" option, which is even more interesting because it means that any modifications must have the same license as the original content (similar or equal to "copyleft"). This is what we prefer.

2) Allow commercial uses of your work?

And this is where the debate starts, which comes down to two conflicting, but good arguments:

A) "Yes: We should let anyone do whatever they want with the content. Let's not be the "man" and control them. Peace and openness!"

B) "No: I love being open, but I want to protect someone from scamming people by taking this content and selling it. It's free (as in beer) and we should make sure it's always that way!"

Saying "Yes" is more open, but saying "No" protects the content from being used in a way that we don't really want. The decision may never matter, but choosing a license lets us plan ahead... just in case.

So what do you think?