Say I work on a software project where I want to publish the source code (for example on GitHub) solely for review (= access, analyse, test and otherwise review the code as a reference). Now, I asked here because I am aware that software like that is not considered "open source". Some companies have licenses for that.

Microsoft has the MS-RSL License

Mega, for instance, has the "MEGA LIMITED CODE REVIEW LICENCE"

Now my question is, am I allowed to use one of those licenses as well and change the content to fit my project? Or are those licenses licensed exclusively to the company which issued them?

I haven't found a license yet, which explicitly allows me to use it. Other than Common Clause and simply No License, that is.

1 Answer 1


Software licenses, like most text documents, are protected by copyright. You don't have a right to just copy someone else's software license. You have even less rights to create a derived work by modifying someone else's software license (and in practice you would have to do that, even if only to change company and product names).

The creators of the GPL license give you permission to use unmodified copies of the GPL license, and absolutely no permission whatsoever to use modified copies.

  • I see. Thank you for your answer! So basically I'm required to write my own license then. Unfortunately I'm not a lawer. Is there any "read-only" software license that you know of, which can be used as is? Or should this be posted as a different question?
    – user29162
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 19:31

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