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When we first conceived API Commons, we were a little fuzzy about which of Creative Commons licenses API providers should apply to their API definitions. As long as a provider took a stance on API copyright around your API definitions, applied a Creative Commons license, we considered an API “in the commons”.

As time has evolved, and we've had time to reflect on the decision that the Federal Circuit Court handed down in the Oracle v Google case, we've adjusted our vision of what Creative Commons licenses should  be applied to an API, and still be considered as part of the "API Commons".

Moving forward the API Commons will accept two types of Creative Commons license:

  • CC BY-SA - At a minimum we want API designers to be recognized for their work, and other designers to recognize original authorship when relevant.
  • CC0 - Ideally all API designers put their API definitions into the public domain, and wave all their copyright around API designs.

We feel pretty strongly that API definitions have to remain openly licensed, re-usable, even for commercial purposes. In a perfect world we wouldn't have to apply copyright at all, but in light of the Oracle v Google case we should take a proactive stance, and apply the copyright license that make the most sense.

API Commons acknowledges the rights of API designers to recognized for their works, but strongly believe that for the API economy to grow and flourish, API definitions have to be re-usable, shareable and interoperable—publish your APIs into the API Commons today.




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