Relicensing to CC-BY-SA

A few years ago, we made the five-year effort to relicense the Mozilla codebase under the current tri-license so that our code could be used in more contexts and circumstances, without losing copyleft. This has been very successful, enabling projects like Songbird and Miro to happen which otherwise couldn’t due to licensing incompatibilities.

We’d now plan to do another similar, if smaller, thing. The Mozilla project, and the world, has been moving towards Creative Commons licences for non-code content. This is the licence used by the Mozilla Developer Centre and by However, anomalously, is currently under the GNU FDL (Free Documentation Licence). This is for no other reason than it was the MediaWiki default at the time we set it up, and we inadvertently neglected to change it.

The GNU Project have generously added a relicensing clause to the most recent version of the FDL, 1.3, to allow FDL wikis to relicense under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA. is eligible to use this exception. We plan to use it to make our wiki content solely CC-BY-SA, and so interoperable with MDC, and the vast body of other Creative Commons-licensed content around the world. We believe that this is consistent with contributors’ expectations based on their experience with other Mozilla sites, and it will simplify moving content to other such sites and remixing it with content on those sites.

We want to be sure that people are OK with this, so if you have an objection, please post it in the newsgroup thread in the group.

6 thoughts on “Relicensing to CC-BY-SA

  1. just as an observation and not to be taken too seriously — can you consider licensing code samples on the wiki under a more liberal license? since i’m not a contributor to the wiki i have no say, but getting code samples which are under restrictive and/or code-inappropriate licenses may discourage reuse of the code.

    I know you had mentioned that ideally sample code would be BSD-licensed or the like, and i think that might be handy to suggest at this time.

  2. Bryan: Code samples on MDC are under the MIT licence. However, we don’t have the right to relicense content any way we choose (at least, not without asking all the contributors), just under CC-BY-SA. So you’ll need to contact the contributors of particular code samples if you want different terms.

    Having said that, most code samples are on MDC anyway, aren’t they?

  3. Thanks for your reply — I think i was thinking of MCD without visiting… That just goes to show I should probably look at what I’m commenting on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *