Open Access Articles- Top Results for Artistic License

Artistic License

This article is about the software license. For the artistic concept, see Artistic license.
Artistic License
Author The Perl Foundation
Latest version 1.0 and 2.0
Publisher The Perl Foundation
Published ?
DFSG compatible Yes[1]
FSF approved 1.0 No (Yes, for Clarified Artistic License), 2.0 Yes
OSI approved Yes (both)
GPL compatible 1.0 No (Yes, for Clarified Artistic License), 2.0 Yes
Copyleft No[2]
Linking from code with a different license Yes

The Artistic License (version 1.0) is a software license used for certain free and open source software packages, most notably the standard implementation of the Perl programming language and most CPAN modules, which are dual-licensed under the Artistic License and the GNU General Public License (GPL). The original Artistic License was written by Larry Wall. The name of the license is a reference to the concept of artistic license.

The terms of the Artistic License 1.0 were at issue in a 2007 federal district court decision in the US, which suggested that FOSS-like licenses could only be enforced through contract law rather than through copyright law, in contexts where contract damages would be difficult to establish.[3] On appeal, a federal appellate court "determined that the terms of the Artistic License are enforceable copyright conditions".[4]

The case was remanded to the District Court which did not apply the superior court's criteria (on the grounds that in the interim, the Supreme Court had changed the applicable law).[citation needed] However, this left undisturbed the finding that a free and open source license nonetheless has economic value.[citation needed]

Artistic License 1.0

Whether or not the original Artistic License is a free software license is largely unsettled. It was criticized by the Free Software Foundation as being "too vague; some passages are too clever for their own good, and their meaning is not clear."[5] The Free Software Foundation has also explicitly called the original Artistic License a non-free license.[6] The FSF recommended that the license not be used on its own, but approved the common AL/GPL dual-licensing approach for Perl projects.

In response to this, Bradley Kuhn, who later worked for the Free Software Foundation, made a minimal redraft to clarify the ambiguous passages. This was released as the Clarified Artistic License, and was approved by the FSF. It is used by the Paros Proxy, the JavaFBP toolkit and NcFTP.

Artistic License 2.0

In response to the Request for comments process for improving the licensing position for Perl 6, Kuhn's draft was extensively rewritten by Roberta Cairney and Allison Randal for readability and legal clarity, with input from the Perl community. This resulted in the Artistic License 2.0 which has been approved as both a free software[7] and open source[8] license.

It has been adopted by some of the Perl 6 implementations, and has been used by the Parrot virtual machine since version 0.4.13. It is also used by the SNEeSe emulator, which was formerly licensed under the Clarified Artistic License.

The OSI recommends that all developers and projects licensing their products with the Artistic License adopt Artistic License 2.0.[9]


  1. "DFSG Licenses — Debian Wiki". Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  2. "Re: For Approval: Artistic License 2.0: msg#00055". March 14, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  3. New Open Source Legal Decision: Jacobsen & Katzer and How Model Train Software Will Have an Important Effect on Open Source Licensing, Radcliffe, Mark (Law & Life: Silicon Valley) (2007-08-22)
  4. Opinion, Jacobsen v. Katzer, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (2008-08-13)
  5. "Various Licenses and Comments about Them - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  6. "Explaining Why We Don't Endorse Other Systems - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 2013-01-27. ... it permits software released under the original Artistic License to be included, even though that's a nonfree license. 
  7. "Various Licenses and Comments about Them - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  8. "Old Nabble - License Committee Report for May 2007". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  9. "The Artistic License:Licensing". Open Source Initiative. October 31, 2006. Archived from the original on 24 March 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009. 

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