0BSD and ISC are software licenses. They grant permissions for software. I guess these granted permissions legally only apply to what fits the legal definition of software. What if a project combines software with non-software works? What effect does applying a software license to a project have on non-software works within that project? An example scenario is a website implementing 0BSD via top-level LICENSE.txt like in this template.

  • The "template" you linked is (myself a developer) nearly empty. What "non-software" work are you asking about in there? The SVG image?
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 17:36
  • I linked the template to demonstrate the license implementation. Any mix of files could be added to a repo generated from that template. Blog posts seem to me like an example that would fit cultural work better than software whereas code constructing a blog would seem like software. All these could coexist in a repo. SVG seems to me like it could fit both software and cultural work.
    – ryanve
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


The scope of the license is a bit murky, since it just refers to "this software". The intent of the license author is not exactly relevant, because the license author isn't the person with the right to permit copying, the author of the content is. When a content-creator make a vague reference to a canned license, it is not at all clear what they wanted to grant permission to do. Since software is legally treated as being a "literary work" at least in the US, it's not reasonable to hold that permission to use "this software" specifically excludes non source-code items (such as help files, blogs about the software, even associated graphics). Some programs simply will not run without associated graphic content. By a preponderance of evidence, the courts would conclude that the copyright holder intended the entire "package" (that directory) to be licensed. Of course, the copyright holder could also change the license terms if that is not his intent, and that would (theoretically) affect future downloads, except that others could redistribute the package under the terms of the original license. If the rights-holder intended to restrict certain components, they would have given a more specific license, excluding whatever bits are to be excluded.

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