Æsthetic Permissive License

The AEPL is a permissive, non-copyleft license intended to be suitable for software. It is in the same class of licenses as the Modified BSD and MIT licenses. This is the non-finalised license template:

Copyright <Year>, <Entity Name and Optional Metadata>

Copying and distribution of this work, with or without modification, are
permitted provided this entire instrument is preserved as a notice.


A plain text version is also available, which file currently has the following attributes:

The license was submitted on 19th December 2007 to the OSI and to the FSF for approval.


Before the AEPL, there was no existing license which:

Application to a single work is important because existing permissive licenses only mandate preservation of the license text itself, and apply to a package of works. They are not suitable for use as a boilerplate, but also do not ensure preservation of their boilerplate.

Licenses that are not under five non-blank lines of text exceed the McQuary limit, a widely appreciated æsthetic rule of thumb.


History and Acknowledgements

This license is the result of a long conversation with Noah Slater on irc.freenode.net #swig, the Semantic Web Interest Group's IRC channel. He had kindly proposed making a Debian package for my Phenny IRC bot, and so I needed to choose a license for it. This license is a result of that discussion as I could find no existing license which fulfilled my requirements.

Previously I had been putting license todo notices on my projects, such as the following from Pluvo:

Q: What license is Pluvo released under?
A: At the moment none, so full copyright is retained, but the plan is to use an Open Source or Free Software license. The problem is deciding which one, or which ones, to use! If you can make a case for a particular license, please do so on the Pluvo mailing list. Before a license is chosen, you're still free to use it: "Once you've legally downloaded a program, you can compile it. You can run it. You can modify it. You can distribute your patches for other people to use." And once a suitable license is chosen you'll be able to do much more.

Important Notes

I am not a lawyer, and no information on this page should be taken to be legal advice.

Sean B. Palmer, inamidst.com