Software Freedom Law Center Releases Paper on Shareware Redistribution of Free Software

March 27, 2008

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), today published a paper that addresses free software distributed as shareware in violation of its original license.

The paper describes actions free software developers can take to prevent, discover and deal with shareware-related license infringement. It was written after several free software authors contacted SFLC with concerns about their software being incorporated into shareware products without attribution and without source code distribution.

While shareware can be distributed in accordance with most free software licenses, violations are common. This paper includes information on how to package shareware and request money from users while still complying with free software licenses.

The paper is available on the Web at

“Complying with free software licenses is important, even for shareware. It’s the license that makes the software free,” said James Vasile, SFLC Counsel and author of the paper. “This paper will make it easier to ensure licenses are followed with a minimum of legal hassle.”

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