Light++ Copyright License

Non-military Academic and Personal License

This license is designed to guarantee freedom to share and change software for academic and personal use, but restricting commercial firms and military environments from exploiting knowhow for their own benefit. The precise terms and conditions for using, copying, distribution, and modification follow.

Terms and Conditions for Using, Copying, Distribution, and Modification

The "Program" below refers to source, object and executable code, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. Each licensee is addressed as "you".

  1. This license applies to you only if you are using the software privately or as part of non-defense related work for a noncommercial and academic institution, e.g., a university.
  2. This license explicitely prohibits use of the software by employees of military or defense-related organizations, or within facilities producing weapons or conducting research on weapon design. Any attempt to use the Program within military or defense-related organizations or facilities producing weapons or conducting research on weapon design or any other military purpose will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
  3. Every publication and presentation for which work based on the Program or its output has been used must contain an appropriate citation and acknowledgement of the author(s) of the Program.
  4. You may copy, modify and distribute the Program or work based on the Program in source, object, or executable form provided that you also meet all of the following conditions:
    1. You must cause any modifications or work derived from the Program or any part thereof, that you distribute or publish, to be licensed at no charge under the terms of this License. You must accompany it with this unmodified license text.
    2. If a modification or a work derived from the Program requires another component to work properly, you must also cause this component to be licensed under the same terms, and this component must be distributed under the same terms as the modification or derived work.
    3. You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.
    4. You must accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code. The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs.
  5. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program is void and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies or rights from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.
  6. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to use, modify, or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by using, modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.
  7. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipient's exercise of the rights granted herein. (You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.)
  8. If, as a consequence of a court judgement or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement, or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License.
  9. If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other programs whose distribution conditions are different, write to the author(s) to ask for permission.


  1. Because the program is licensed free of charge, there is no warranty for the program to the extent permitted by applicable law. The copyright holders provide the program "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The entire risk as to the quality and performance of the program is with you. Should the program prove defective, you assume the cost of all necessary servicing, repair, or correction.
  2. In no event will any copyright holder, or any other party who may modify and/or redistribute the program as permitted above, be liable to you for damages, including any general, special, incidental or consequential damages arising out of the use or inability to use the program (including but not limited to loss of data or data being rendered inaccurate or losses sustained by you or third parties or a failure of the program to operate with any other programs), even if such holder or other party has been advised of the possibility of such damages.


Writing software means to create technology and thereby empowering new potentials. Freedom of software versus proprietary development has already been discussed frequently in the community and is taken care of by various licensing schemes. However, the creation of new technology also comes along with the responsibility of the inventor to decide whom to grant the associated new power. In the domain of physics (nuclear weapons) and biology (genetic design, cloning, stem cells) the ethical component of research and technology is part of the scientific advance progress. However, there is hardly any or no conciousness at all on the ethical impacts of software development. The fight for freedom in favour of Open Source leads to people ignoring that software itself can be used as a weapon itself (in the sense that it allows to create such), and as such it should not necessarily be made available to anyone (do we really want to equip everyone with a gun?). The danger of software being used for purpose that might actually harm people is larger than one might think at the first instance. While creating just another license in the djungle of existing ones cannot change the world, but the main purpose of this license is to at least help increasing the consciousness about this topic.

Open Source license explicitely disallow to restrict the usage of software to a certain group of people or application scenario. In this sense, the Light++ license is not Open Source, though it gives the same rights to private and academic users as others do.

Links (no responsibility is taken for the contents of these pages)


Cited from the Open Technology Development Roadmap Plan, Office of Security Review, Department of Defense, June 7th 2006, available under :

Cited from

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Free translations cited from :


If identifiable sections of a whole work that makes use of the Program or any parts thereof, can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, this License does not apply to those sections. A section is considered reasonably independent when it can be used and compiled independently from the Program, and the modified Program can still be used and compiled without this section (even with possibly reduced functionality - a typical example is a plugin loaded at runtime). In other words, if a distributed modification of the Program requires another component, then this component must be distributed under the same License, or the modification of the Program must be such that the Program is still usable without this component.

Werner Benger, © 2005++