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10 funny and absurd software licenses that will make your day

Some of these are hilarious

A software license is a legal instrument governing the use or redistribution of software. Software licenses typically provide end users with the right to one or more copies of the software without violating copyrights. The license also defines the responsibilities of the parties entering into the license agreement and may impose restrictions on how the software can be used.

Some of the best known open source licenses in order of increasing risk (and thus reduced usability) are — MIT License, GNU General Public License 2.0, Apache License 2.0, etc.

While these are commonly used, here are some really random and weird licenses that will make you go LOL!

1. Passive Aggressive License 😐

This license allows you to copy, modify, or distribute the source code or compiled binaries, but doesn’t let you run the program.

2. Non-White-Heterosexual-Male License 👩🏻‍❤️‍👨🏻

This license lets anyone who isn’t a white heterosexual male do whatever they want. Otherwise you have to follow the rules specified in the license.

3. Hot Potato License 🥔

This license transfers exclusive ownership of the entire project to whoever committed the last change.

4. JSON License* 👩🏻‍💻

This license is an MIT-style license with a morality clause stating “The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil.” Of course, Good and Evil are subjective, so this is legally unenforceable at best, and may or may not allow the author to sue you for any reason.

There is a very interesting story about how IBM admitted that it’s software might be used for evil! Read about it at the end of this article.

5. Anyone But Richard Stallman License ⛔️

This license guarantees that anyone can do anything they want with the software, except Richard Stallman, who cannot use or redistribute it in any way.

6. Bantown Public License 🔪

This license is very permissive about what you do with the software, as long as you commit at least 3 criminal offences as per the US criminal code! Here are a few examples!

7. Sltar license 👹

This license ensures that using a software requires giving your first child to the author so that they can immolate it to the devil.

8. Katharos License 😇

This license demands religious purity and requires the usage to be good as defined by the full 66 books of the Holy Bible before you can do anything with the software.

9. Evil License 😈

A license that only allows you to use the program only for wicked ends, which it provides some helpful examples of.

10. Don’t Ask Me About Anything License 🤷🏻‍♂️

A license that lets anyone do whatever they want, provided they never contact the author about anything covered by the license.

And now for the JSON license — IBM story. Douglas Crockford put the following clause in the JSON license The Software should be used for Good, not Evil. This taken from a tech talk about the history of JSON.

About once a year, I get a letter from a lawyer, every year a different lawyer, at a company — I don’t want to embarrass the company by saying their name, so I’ll just say their initials — IBM…


…saying that they want to use something I wrote. Because I put this on everything I write, now. They want to use something that I wrote in something that they wrote, and they were pretty sure they weren’t going to use it for evil, but they couldn’t say for sure about their customers. So could I give them a special license for that?

Of course. So I wrote back — this happened literally two weeks ago — “I give permission for IBM, its customers, partners, and minions, to use JSLint for evil.”

[laughter and applause]

And the attorney wrote back and said: “Thanks very much, Douglas!”

That’s all for this article. If you enjoyed it and want to look at some more bad licenses then visit this repository. It inspired the article, so don’t forget to live a star! ⭐️

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As always! Happy Hacking! 😇

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