PolyForm Countdowna simple, solid form for changing your license later
This post is part of a series, PolyForm.
I’m happy to announce release of version 1.0.0 of the new PolyForm Countdown License Grant. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, opined, and fed back on last month’s draft! Design notes from that earlier post still apply.
I’ve also created a GitHub repository to track proposed changes—feedback still very much welcome—and a POSIX shell script for filling out the template.
This form makes delayed relicensing, as under MariaDB’s Business Source License, easy to implement clearly with any choice of initial license. A project could put any restricted or share-alike it likes in its
LICENSE file, then append PolyForm Countdown to
LICENSE in release tarballs to schedule a change to more permissive terms. As examples:
Here’s an example
LICENSE.md file for a release starting out on PolyForm Shield and transitioning to Apache 2 in three years:
# PolyForm Shield License 1.0.0 <https://polyformproject.org/licenses/shield/1.0.0> ## Acceptance In order to get any license under these terms, you must agree to them as both strict obligations and conditions to all your licenses. ## Copyright License The licensor grants you a copyright license for the software to do everything you might do with the software that would otherwise infringe the licensor's copyright in it for any permitted purpose. However, you may only distribute the software according to [Distribution License](#distribution-license) and make changes or new works based on the software according to [Changes and New Works License](#changes-and-new-works-license). ## Distribution License The licensor grants you an additional copyright license to distribute copies of the software. Your license to distribute covers distributing the software with changes and new works permitted by [Changes and New Works License](#changes-and-new-works-license). ## Notices You must ensure that anyone who gets a copy of any part of the software from you also gets a copy of these terms or the URL for them above, as well as copies of any plain-text lines beginning with `Required Notice:` that the licensor provided with the software. For example: > Required Notice: Copyright Yoyodyne, Inc. (http://example.com) ## Changes and New Works License The licensor grants you an additional copyright license to make changes and new works based on the software for any permitted purpose. ## Patent License The licensor grants you a patent license for the software that covers patent claims the licensor can license, or becomes able to license, that you would infringe by using the software. ## Noncompete Any purpose is a permitted purpose, except for providing any product that competes with the software or any product the licensor or any of its affiliates provides using the software. ## Competition Goods and services compete even when they provide functionality through different kinds of interfaces or for different technical platforms. Applications can compete with services, libraries with plugins, frameworks with development tools, and so on, even if they're written in different programming languages or for different computer architectures. Goods and services compete even when provided free of charge. If you market a product as a practical substitute for the software or another product, it definitely competes. ## New Products If you are using the software to provide a product that does not compete, but the licensor or any of its affiliates brings your product into competition by providing a new version of the software or another product using the software, you may continue using versions of the software available under these terms beforehand to provide your competing product, but not any later versions. ## Discontinued Products You may begin using the software to compete with a product or service that the licensor or any of its affiliates has stopped providing, unless the licensor includes a plain-text line beginning with `Licensor Line of Business:` with the software that mentions that line of business. For example: > Licensor Line of Business: YoyodyneCMS Content Management System (http://example.com/cms) ## Sales of Business If the licensor or any of its affiliates sells a line of business developing the software or using the software to provide a product, the buyer can also enforce [Noncompete](#noncompete) for that product. ## Fair Use You may have "fair use" rights for the software under the law. These terms do not limit them. ## No Other Rights These terms do not allow you to sublicense or transfer any of your licenses to anyone else, or prevent the licensor from granting licenses to anyone else. These terms do not imply any other licenses. ## Patent Defense If you make any written claim that the software infringes or contributes to infringement of any patent, your patent license for the software granted under these terms ends immediately. If your company makes such a claim, your patent license ends immediately for work on behalf of your company. ## Violations The first time you are notified in writing that you have violated any of these terms, or done anything with the software not covered by your licenses, your licenses can nonetheless continue if you come into full compliance with these terms, and take practical steps to correct past violations, within 32 days of receiving notice. Otherwise, all your licenses end immediately. ## No Liability ***As far as the law allows, the software comes as is, without any warranty or condition, and the licensor will not be liable to you for any damages arising out of these terms or the use or nature of the software, under any kind of legal claim.*** ## Definitions The **licensor** is the individual or entity offering these terms, and the **software** is the software the licensor makes available under these terms. A **product** can be a good or service, or a combination of them. **You** refers to the individual or entity agreeing to these terms. **Your company** is any legal entity, sole proprietorship, or other kind of organization that you work for, plus all its affiliates. **Affiliates** means the other organizations than an organization has control over, is under the control of, or is under common control with. **Control** means ownership of substantially all the assets of an entity, or the power to direct its management and policies by vote, contract, or otherwise. Control can be direct or indirect. **Your licenses** are all the licenses granted to you for the software under these terms. **Use** means anything you do with the software requiring one of your licenses. --- # PolyForm Countdown License Grant Version 1.0.0 <https://polyformproject.org/licenses/countdown/1.0.0> ## Start Date 2026-12-01 (ISO 8601-1:2019) ## License Each contributor licenses this release to you on the new license terms below, starting at 12:00 noon UTC on the start date above. ## Scope This license grant applies only to this release, not to any other releases. Other releases may come with their own license grants. ## Reliability No contributor can revoke the new license before it starts. If the new license terms allow a contributor to revoke, they can do so only after the new license starts. ## Legalities Legally, this is a present grant of a license on the date of release, not a contract promise to grant the license later. ## New License Terms ``` Apache License Version 2.0, January 2004 http://www.apache.org/licenses/ TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR USE, REPRODUCTION, AND DISTRIBUTION 1. Definitions. "License" shall mean the terms and conditions for use, reproduction, and distribution as defined by Sections 1 through 9 of this document. "Licensor" shall mean the copyright owner or entity authorized by the copyright owner that is granting the License. "Legal Entity" shall mean the union of the acting entity and all other entities that control, are controlled by, or are under common control with that entity. For the purposes of this definition, "control" means (i) the power, direct or indirect, to cause the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding shares, or (iii) beneficial ownership of such entity. "You" (or "Your") shall mean an individual or Legal Entity exercising permissions granted by this License. "Source" form shall mean the preferred form for making modifications, including but not limited to software source code, documentation source, and configuration files. "Object" form shall mean any form resulting from mechanical transformation or translation of a Source form, including but not limited to compiled object code, generated documentation, and conversions to other media types. "Work" shall mean the work of authorship, whether in Source or Object form, made available under the License, as indicated by a copyright notice that is included in or attached to the work (an example is provided in the Appendix below). "Derivative Works" shall mean any work, whether in Source or Object form, that is based on (or derived from) the Work and for which the editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications represent, as a whole, an original work of authorship. For the purposes of this License, Derivative Works shall not include works that remain separable from, or merely link (or bind by name) to the interfaces of, the Work and Derivative Works thereof. "Contribution" shall mean any work of authorship, including the original version of the Work and any modifications or additions to that Work or Derivative Works thereof, that is intentionally submitted to Licensor for inclusion in the Work by the copyright owner or by an individual or Legal Entity authorized to submit on behalf of the copyright owner. For the purposes of this definition, "submitted" means any form of electronic, verbal, or written communication sent to the Licensor or its representatives, including but not limited to communication on electronic mailing lists, source code control systems, and issue tracking systems that are managed by, or on behalf of, the Licensor for the purpose of discussing and improving the Work, but excluding communication that is conspicuously marked or otherwise designated in writing by the copyright owner as "Not a Contribution." "Contributor" shall mean Licensor and any individual or Legal Entity on behalf of whom a Contribution has been received by Licensor and subsequently incorporated within the Work. 2. Grant of Copyright License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object form. 3. Grant of Patent License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work, where such license applies only to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed by their Contribution(s) alone or by combination of their Contribution(s) with the Work to which such Contribution(s) was submitted. If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed. 4. Redistribution. You may reproduce and distribute copies of the Work or Derivative Works thereof in any medium, with or without modifications, and in Source or Object form, provided that You meet the following conditions: (a) You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works a copy of this License; and (b) You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices stating that You changed the files; and (c) You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works; and (d) If the Work includes a "NOTICE" text file as part of its distribution, then any Derivative Works that You distribute must include a readable copy of the attribution notices contained within such NOTICE file, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works, in at least one of the following places: within a NOTICE text file distributed as part of the Derivative Works; within the Source form or documentation, if provided along with the Derivative Works; or, within a display generated by the Derivative Works, if and wherever such third-party notices normally appear. The contents of the NOTICE file are for informational purposes only and do not modify the License. You may add Your own attribution notices within Derivative Works that You distribute, alongside or as an addendum to the NOTICE text from the Work, provided that such additional attribution notices cannot be construed as modifying the License. You may add Your own copyright statement to Your modifications and may provide additional or different license terms and conditions for use, reproduction, or distribution of Your modifications, or for any such Derivative Works as a whole, provided Your use, reproduction, and distribution of the Work otherwise complies with the conditions stated in this License. 5. Submission of Contributions. Unless You explicitly state otherwise, any Contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the Work by You to the Licensor shall be under the terms and conditions of this License, without any additional terms or conditions. Notwithstanding the above, nothing herein shall supersede or modify the terms of any separate license agreement you may have executed with Licensor regarding such Contributions. 6. Trademarks. This License does not grant permission to use the trade names, trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of the Work and reproducing the content of the NOTICE file. 7. Disclaimer of Warranty. Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, Licensor provides the Work (and each Contributor provides its Contributions) on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. You are solely responsible for determining the appropriateness of using or redistributing the Work and assume any risks associated with Your exercise of permissions under this License. 8. Limitation of Liability. In no event and under no legal theory, whether in tort (including negligence), contract, or otherwise, unless required by applicable law (such as deliberate and grossly negligent acts) or agreed to in writing, shall any Contributor be liable to You for damages, including any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising as a result of this License or out of the use or inability to use the Work (including but not limited to damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and all other commercial damages or losses), even if such Contributor has been advised of the possibility of such damages. 9. Accepting Warranty or Additional Liability. While redistributing the Work or Derivative Works thereof, You may choose to offer, and charge a fee for, acceptance of support, warranty, indemnity, or other liability obligations and/or rights consistent with this License. However, in accepting such obligations, You may act only on Your own behalf and on Your sole responsibility, not on behalf of any other Contributor, and only if You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold each Contributor harmless for any liability incurred by, or claims asserted against, such Contributor by reason of your accepting any such warranty or additional liability. END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPENDIX: How to apply the Apache License to your work. To apply the Apache License to your work, attach the following boilerplate notice, with the fields enclosed by brackets "" replaced with your own identifying information. (Don't include the brackets!) The text should be enclosed in the appropriate comment syntax for the file format. We also recommend that a file or class name and description of purpose be included on the same "printed page" as the copyright notice for easier identification within third-party archives. Copyright [yyyy] [name of copyright owner] Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0 Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License. ```
Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.
back to top — edit on GitHub — revision history