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This section of the site lists licenses that are conformant with the principles laid out in the Open Definition.

Conformant Licenses

The following licenses are conformant with the principles set forth in the Open Definition.

  • Domain = Domain of application, i.e. what type of material this license should/can be applied to. Note if you are looking for an open license for software, please see Open Source Definition conformant licenses.
  • BY = requires attribution
  • SA = require share-alike

These licenses conform to the Open Definition and are:

  • Reusable: Not specific to an organization or jurisdiction.
  • Compatible: Must be compatible with at least one of GPL-3.0+, CC-BY-SA-4.0, and ODbL-1.0. Permissive/attribution-only licenses must be compatible with all 3 of the aforementioned licenses, and at least one of Apache-2.0, CC-BY-4.0, and ODC-BY-1.0.
  • Current: Widely used and generally considered best practice by a broad spectrum of projects and actors within the domains of applicability of the license.
License Domain By SA Comments
Creative Commons CCZero (CC0) Content, Data N N Dedicate to the Public Domain (all rights waived)
Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and Licence (PDDL) Data N N Dedicate to the Public Domain (all rights waived)
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY-4.0) Content, Data Y N
Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-BY) Data Y N Attribution for data(bases)
Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 (CC-BY-SA-4.0) Content, Data Y Y
Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) Data Y Y Attribution-ShareAlike for data(bases)

Other conformant licenses

These licenses conform to the Open Defintion, but do not meet reusability or compatibililty requirements for recommended licenses, or have been superceded by newer license versions or newer licenses with similar use cases, or are little-used. These licenses may be reasonable for the particular organization they were crafted for to use, or to use for legacy reasons. Projects outside such contexts are strongly advised to use a recommended conformant license from the list above.

License Domain By SA Comments
Against DRM Content Y Y Little used.
Creative Commons Attribution versions 1.0-3.0 Content Y N Includes all jurisdiction "ports"; Superceded by CC-BY-4.0.
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike versions 1.0-3.0 Content Y Y Includes all jurisdiction "ports"; Superceded by CC-BY-SA-4.0. Additionally, CC-BY-SA-1.0 is Incompatible with any other license.
Data licence Germany – attribution – version 2.0 Data Y N Non-reusable. For use by Germany government licensors. Note version 1.0 is not approved as conformant.
Data licence Germany – Zero – version 2.0 Data N N Non-reusable. For use by Germany government licensors. Note there is no previous version.
Design Science License Content Y Y Little used, Incompatible with any other license.
EFF Open Audio License Content Y Y Deprecated in favor of CC-BY-SA.
Free Art License (FAL) Content Y Y
GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL) Content Y Y Incompatible with any other license. Only conformant if used with no cover texts and no invariant sections.
MirOS License Code, Content Y N Little used.
Open Government Licence Canada 2.0 Content, Data Y N Non-reusable. For use by Canada government licensors. Note version 1.0 is not approved as conformant.
Open Government Licence United Kingdom 2.0 and 3.0 Content, Data Y N Non-reusable. For use by UK government licensors; re-uses of OGL-UK-2.0 and OGL-UK-3.0 material may be released under CC-BY or ODC-BY. Note version 1.0 is not approved as conformant.
Talis Community License Data Y Y Draft only, Deprecated in favour of ODC licenses.

Non-Conformant Licenses

The linked page lists some non-conformant licenses – usually those that though supporting some of the definition’s principles do not support all of them.