Choose the right license

Depending on the purpose of your share different software licenses can be applied. It has to be noted that it is always possible to release software under multiple licenses for the code entirely developed and owned by EPFL. This means that a software can be released for example under academic license and multiple commercial licenses for different applications or field of use.

Open source licenses

Before downloading or sharing open source software you should consider that license compatibility between open source licenses is not always granted. This means that combining code released under different licenses may result, without the direct permission of the copyright holder, in a code which cannot be legally distributed.

The MIT license is a very short and permissive license for users. The software can be used for any application including integration into commercial software (e.g. proprietary software) as long as the original copyright holder is cited in the re-distributed software. Software is provided without warranty and the software author/owner cannot be held liable for damages (as far as permitted by applicable law).

http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT

The BSD license is also a very short and permissive license for users. The software can be used for any application including integration into commercial software (e.g. proprietary software) as long as the original copyright holder is cited in the re-distributed software. Use of trademarks from original licensors is expressly prohibited. Software is provided without warranty and the software author/owner cannot be held liable for damages (as far as permitted by applicable law).

http://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause

http://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-2-Clause

Apache is also considered a permissive license for users. The software can be used for any application including integration into commercial software (e.g. proprietary software) as long as the original copyright holder is cited in the re-distributed software. The license provides an express grant of a license under patents, which the contributors may have on the software. Software is provided without warranty and the software author/owner cannot be held liable for damages (as far as permitted by applicable law).

http://opensource.org/licenses/Apache-2.0

GPL is a so-called “copyleft “ license. This means that anyone who wants to re-distribute the code in a modified or unmodified form shall also share the source code of the original software as well as the source code of his/her own modifications, under the same license terms. For this reason GPL license is also called viral. The license provides an express grant of a license under patents, which the contributors may have on the software.

Commercial use of GPL code is allowed as long as the source code is also provided to end users.

http://opensource.org/licenses/gpl-3.0

Based on the original GPL license the Lesser GPL software license is applied to software libraries and requires sharing, under the same terms, the source code of any modified or unmodified version of the library, which the user wants to further distribute. Integration and distribution of proprietary software with different license terms in conjunction with LGPL software is in principle allowed provided that the library is just linked to the main application.

http://opensource.org/licenses/LGPL-3.0

Affero GPL is a very strong copyleft license that requires anyone distributing or using server applications using AGPL protected software to made available the source code to any network user. This license is also considered viral (see above “GPL”). The license provides an express grant of a license under patents, which the contributors may have on the software. Commercial use of AGPL code is allowed as long as the source code is also provided to end users.

http://opensource.org/licenses/AGPL-3.0

Academic license

Sharing software code for academic use is a very effective way to demonstrate the potential of a particular technology or specific implementation without undermining the commercial potential.

The TTO has developed two academic license template which can be used to share software between no profit research institutions you can find here:

For any question on the license terms please contact the TTO.

Commercial licenses

In the case of clear and direct opportunities to transfer software to industry or a startup a commercial license with the startup or other company is needed.

The TTO is available to discuss with authors and companies for commercial software licenses.

Please contact the TTO and fill the invention disclosure form for software.

Contact

Techonology Transfer Office

EPFL Innovation Park J
CH-1015 Lausanne
Switzerland


Mail:     [email protected]

Phone: +41 21 693 70 23