For any software project, the most important file in the project is the license. This file states who owns the work, who is allowed to use the project and under what conditions, and what rights and guarantees are conferred to both the users and the owners. If a license file is not present, it is conspicuous in its absence. Since the license is the most important file in a project, this chapter is the most important one in this book to read and fully understand.
License files should be easy and obvious to find. Most of the time they appear in the top-level directory and go by the name LICENSE, license.txt, or another variant. Note that sometimes different parts of a project are provided under different licenses. Some projects also have the dubious practice of being licensed differently depending on how they are used. Be sure to read and understand the license of any software project that you use before you use it.
This chapter is not legal counsel. We are not qualified to help you in a formal dispute. For that, you need to have a lawyer.
This chapter is only intended to provide friendly advice that aims to help you understand the basic concepts in publishing a creative work. Having a good grasp of these fundamentals will help you make informed decisions. If for any reason you do end up needing legal counsel in this area but do not know where to start, you can contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Software ...