The (Cooperative) Non-Violent Public License - Official Page

The rest of this page is not to be confused with the NPL/CNPL Licenses themselves, it is only a description. The licenses themselves are each available on git, below.

To clarify: These Licenses are intended not only for Software, but also for creative works of all kinds.

The git for the NPL license is available here. The git for the CNPL license is available here. For either version, report issues which apply to both on the NPL git, and otherwise please add issues for future license revisions to the respective repository's issue tracker.


To ensure your project is able to apply fixes from newer versions of the NPL or CNPL please add a "+" at the end of the license abbreviation, like either of these: NPLv4+ CNPLv4+. You can also specify that you only want your work available under certain versions like so: NPLv0,1 CNPLv0,1 (to make your work available under either version 0 or 1 of the License). It is highly recommended to keep up to date, but short of that, please only use versions 4 and above (for both).

CNPLv6 Download Mirror - here

Brief License Summary (For Lay-People)

The Non-Violent Public License aims to ensure basic protections against forms of violence, coercion, and discrimination which creations are frequently leveraged for in the modern world. This license covers several formats of creative work but has extra terms for software given the power it has as a tool outside of its creative capacities.

The Cooperative Non-Violent Public License goes further and only allows commercial use of the copyrighted work for individuals and worker-owned organizations. It is a superset of the NPL and contains all of the same terms otherwise.

The rights granted on the copyrighted work are as follows:

(Subject to any restrictions)

The restrictions on the copyrighted work are as follows:

Copyleft and more "Typical" Legal Restrictions

Ethical Restrictions on usage

Extra Restriction in the CNPL

You cannot sell the licensed work as a "traditional company" (anything other than a non-worker-owned cooperative, so hierarchical cooperatives do not count). You can only commercially redistribute licensed works as an individual or as a worker-owned cooperative.

Check out the "Licenses For Freedom" Blog

A Note to those concerned about "Free Software"

The Non-Violent Public License intentionally does not meet the Free Software Definition because of the restrictions put in place to protect others from violence aided by the use of the copyrighted work. "Freedom 0" is explicitly violated to afford these protections and prevent unethical usage of the program to actually Free Society.This license does preserve freedoms 1-3 and can be referred to as a "three freedoms" license. Similarly to the GNU AGPL this license has the additional requirement that server-side source code modifications to public-facing server software must be published for users as well as the usual expectations for FLOSS software with the exception of restrictions on Freedom 0 for ethical purposes.

With this in mind, can licenses which do not leverage ethical restrictions on "freedom" 0 really be said to "Free Society" as Stallman claims when they allow for the running of concentration camps and surveillance states? I leave it for you to decide.

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Last updated January 4, 12020 Human Era by thufie

I am not a Lawyer and this license has not yet been tried in a court of law. If you are a lawyer and want to review this license to make the legal protections more robust please contact me with the information on my site's contact page.

kopimi ;P