The intent of a license is to grant or prevent access in a certain fashion to a product made by the licensor. Generally a license is used to protect the intellectual property of a party. For closed source and/or commercial products this is quite clear cut, after all for those products you want people to only use the product on exactly your terms.
For open source or better yet for your hobby project where you couldn’t care less about if someone used it, it could be somewhat more complicated. I am not denying there’s still a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo involved with closed source/commercial products, but even for a small hobby project there’s too much involved. Just look at this list, it’ll take you more than a few minutes to pick the right one. ;)
The public domain is something which is beautiful yet confusing in my opinion. Beautiful in the way that it stimulates creativity, sharing and innovation in general. Confusing in that it’s almost never clear when you’re allowed and how you’re allowed to use it. I hardly ever read licenses any more, most of it doesn’t make sense to me anyway.
As a creator I never really paid much attention to the whole ordeal, figuring that whoever finds my code can figure it out. But admittedly that’s not a very friendly approach, so when I came across Unlicense I was quite content. In short the Unlicense license allows you to waiver your copyright to your code (since that seems to be the main product for the license atm) completely.
The first line of Unlicense;
This is free and unencumbered software released into the public domain.
Is actually formulated in such a way that googling it will show you the software you can freely use/edit/compile/copy/etc. Which I think is pretty awesome! Now I can set my code free without confusing anyone who wants to use it.
Stuff like this does make me proud to be a coder/geek, because in a world where everybody just thinks about themselves, coders/geeks seem to be setting new trends for the public domain. With ‘organisations’ like Anonymous being the front-line combatants for internet freedom and free-speech.
I’d like to close off with the blessing SQLite uses instead of a license;
May you do good and not evil
May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others
May you share freely, never taking more than you give.
Geeks are going to change the world, just you wait! ;)