Blue Oak Council

Blue Oak Council opens the software commons up to those who can’t find or afford specialized legal help by bringing experienced lawyer-technologists together to publish free, practical materials about software licenses.

The Council uses this page to answer frequently asked questions about the Blue Oak Model License.

Please understand that the Council is not a law firm. If you need legal advice about a specific situation that matters to you, engage a lawyer. They can ask questions to fully understand your situation, in confidence, and stand professionally accountable for advice tailored to you. The Council cannot.

Why write yet another permissive license?

The Council didn’t set out to write a model license. While preparing the first version of the permissive license list, members ended up trading notes about the features of a good permissive license they were using to judge existing terms. No existing license boasted all of those features. Rather than simply list them out, the Council found it easier just to write out a new, model license showing what’s possible.

Is the model license compatible with GPL?

The Council doesn’t see any reason why software licensed under the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0 can’t be used, combined, and distributed with software under GPLv2, LGPLv2.1, GPLv3, LGPLv3, or AGPLv3.

Some have argued that GPLv2 and Apache 2.0 are incompatible, because if a patent claim was brought against the software, Apache 2.0’s patent grant would terminate, leaving the recipient with fewer rights than required by GPLv2. Without commenting on the accuracy of this analysis, the Council notes that the Blue Oak Model License doesn’t have patent termination, so this hypothetical conflict cannot occur between the Model License and the GPL.

For more on what license compatibility means, you may wish to read this older piece from one of our members.