Advice for choosing a licence

I am not so used to the topic of licencing so I thought I would ask here. Can I get some advice which licences are maybe preferable over others? I mean its a complex topic and depends on a lot of things. In my case the most important part would be to be safe against compensation for damages (don’t know if this is the right term, I mean to not give guarantees for the software so I can’t being held responsible for damage caused by the software etc.). That’s the main reason I am looking into the topic right now.
Apart from that if I release some kind of source code on GitHub for example, which licence would make sense if I want others to be able to collaborate and be able to improve it by using the standard GitHub workflow? I guess I want the source code to stay open and I would like to let people use the software as they want to.

So there is the GPL (GNU GPLv3) and the MIT licence for example. Are these licences recommended?


GitHub has a licence feature, which I think also gives you an idea of what is what,

Here is a useful website, click Home at the top for the main page:


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Thanks, this is a ice overview of the most popular licences available. From the first quick look at it I think I will probably go with GNU GPLv3. This way the source will stay available for anybody if I understood correctly… Did I? I think I will then have to include the licence in every source file and output it at the beginning of scripts if I read / understood correctly?

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On GitHub, you create a file called and it then gives you options on screen, select create file in the place you would normally see Download ZIP.


Looked at GH and it’s>

Add File> Create File> Name it ‘’ Capslock on!



This is the link you need:


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I will choose the software licence on a per project basis. So what I was wondering now after deciding to go with the Gnu GPLv3 for the next project is, if in this case this does also include myself not being allowed to publish a closed source version of the software at some point?

So if I want to use my own software as closed source at some point or at least leave me with the possibility to do so later along the way (without community contribution(s) would be fine I guess) should I then better go with for example the MIT licence?

Not sure, but MG is using the MIT licence, hopefully someone can chime in here…


Which makes sense if you want to allow forks of MonoGame which people can then use as closed source after e.g. they put significant work into the modification.

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@Kwyrky It’s very important to get this correctly. I’ve done a lot of research on my own, but IANAL, so take this with a grain of salt.

Short summary of both licenses you mentioned:

MIT: Do whatever you want, provided you include the license notice.

GPL: Do whatever you want, but everyone you distribute the software to entitled to the same rights as you. This means the distributor must provide source code upon request (the most common way is to have it up on a repository). This carries over to derived works (Ex. modified version of software).

For both of these licenses, there is no warranty and you are not liable for any damage that occurs to users of the software.

Here is a simple guide for applying the GPL: In short, you do not need to apply the entire text to each source file, but a license notice is recommended.

Regarding MonoGame, it is dual licensed under Ms-PL and MIT. The GPL is not compatible with MonoGame’s Ms-PL license:

The short answer is Ms-PL says that source distributions must be licensed under Ms-PL, while the GPL says source and binary distributions must be licensed under the GPL. As the copyright owner, you can do whatever you want, but anyone who receives the software in source form would not be able to legally redistribute it. See more here and here.

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I like the MPL 2.0 license, it’s basically “do whatever the hell you want except sell the software as is without any modification”.

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Where do you see that in the MPL 2.0 text? MPL 2.0 is a per-file copyleft license. If you weren’t able to sell the software for any reason, it would not be a free software license.