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What license do I need for a CSS framework?

  • # June 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I’ve researched others licensed but they are all mostly different.

    My framework will be mostly edited and updated by me only and maybe a small team of friends. I want my css to be available for everyone to use and edit but the users are NOT allowed to edit the top of the CSS file that will say the css framework name and license details.

    # June 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I think there are a lot licenses to fit that need, for example MIT.

    # June 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    You can license CSS?

    # June 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    >license CSS?

    Scroll down on Twitter Bootstrap

    # June 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    > I want my css to be available for everyone to use and edit but the users are NOT allowed to edit the top of the CSS file that will say the css framework name and license details.

    As @CrocoDillon says, MIT should fit the job. However, do consider whether you are realistically going to enforce that. If not, you may as well use a less restrictive license, or none at all for that matter.

    If you must license, I personally like the wtfpl license:

    [http://www.wtfpl.net/txt/copying/](http://www.wtfpl.net/txt/copying/ “wtfpl license”)

    > You can license CSS?

    Hard to see what the point would be.

    # June 19, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I was completely unaware that Microsoft had patented CSS, behind the W3C’s back no less. Regardless, licensing and copyright for CSS seems to be an issue with a lot of debate.

    # June 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Mmm. My opinion is that the vast majority of projects see no benefit whatsoever in licensing CSS. For some, sure, maybe it’s important – and I take no issue with people who decide to attach whatever license they want to their code.

    I, however, do not browse the source code to many projects and would therefore be highly unlikely to pick up on any infringement. Hence me saying that it seems a little pointless. I may as well just explicitly allow it.

    # June 19, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I meant that CSS copyright and license rights are highly debated in the legal field.

    # June 20, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Does that make any difference, though? Most people are likely to behave as though the license is valid. For some (the majority?), that means they will abide by it. Others will ignore it.

    I guess what I’m asking is, how does the uncertainty you allude to influence your answer to the OP’s question?

    # June 21, 2013 at 7:44 am

    > Does that make any difference, though? Most people are likely to behave as though the license is valid.

    What do you mean, “does that make any difference”? If copyrighting or licensing CSS is not even legally binding, and I’m not saying it isn’t, wouldn’t those copyrights or licenses be deceitful?

    > how does the uncertainty you allude to influence your answer to the OP’s question?

    The OP’s question is related to law. It’s complicated and I don’t think any of us should give advice in particular areas that we are not educated in. There is a higher chance that it would lead to false information.

    And with licenses, it’s important to read them because they can even be invalid. Such as, if the OP wrote in a clause about not removing some text, that could be invalid for some licenses as they state you cannot put forth further restrictions.

    # June 21, 2013 at 8:18 am

    > What do you mean, “does that make any difference”? If copyrighting or licensing CSS is not even legally binding, and I’m not saying it isn’t, wouldn’t those copyrights or licenses be deceitful?

    If it is binding, then you’ve got what you want from the license. If it’s not, then the license is simply not valid. I don’t understand the problem. Maybe it gives a user false information regarding what they can and can’t do, but in this case all the OP wants to require is that they credit his work.

    So your advice would be what? Don’t attach any license?

    > Such as, if the OP wrote in a clause about not removing some text, that could be invalid for some licenses as they state you cannot put forth further restrictions.

    That is why the MIT license is useful. The name of the project can be incorporated into the license text (not an extra clause) and all the license says is that it has to be kept attached to the code.

    The BSD 3 clause license would also serve this purpose, with added restrictions about not co-opting the names of the project and contributors to endorse or promote derivative products.

    I don’t think I have to be a lawyer to understand what these licenses require of end-users and give advice as to what they do. The licenses tell you that stuff pretty clearly.

    Again, even if these licenses aren’t legally valid, I’m really struggling to see a harm in giving the impression that they are.

    # June 21, 2013 at 10:21 am

    You misunderstood. I stated that law is complicated and difficult to understand. Not individual licenses.

    After further research and allegedly coming from the copyright office (US) themselves after asking them multiple times, CSS cannot be copyrighted outside of Trade Dress.

    So writing a disclaimer not to remove the developers’ names seems to be invalid. But then some would argue that piece of text is subject to copyright. Sure, the text itself could be but not the CSS inside it.

    Anyway, that’s just what I’ve understood from research including lawsuits.

    # June 21, 2013 at 11:05 am

    In the world of software, there’s a lot of grey areas. From the objective definitions of “intellectual property” to “fair use”, and the fact that a lot of software developers trust other people enough to say “you are free to use this as long as…..”.

    It’s one thing to ask people to not remove the name of the author and trust people to grant that request.
    It’s a whole different thing in reality. Plenty of people don’t care and just want to remove stuff they’re not supposed to.
    And then it’s another different thing to do something about it when someone violates your license. Lawyers, different countries, etc.

    I’d say, just make it standard, ask people not to remove the names of the authors and then let it go. Not everyone will do exactly what you ask, but that’s life.

    If your product is going to have thousands and thousands of users, then it may be time to look into the more serious legal side of the story.

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