[Rd] License statement

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Wed Dec 22 23:48:14 CET 2010

On 22/12/2010 5:35 PM, David Scott wrote:
>    I am writing a package for a company for its internal use only.
> What is an appropriate license statement for the DESCRIPTION file?

I think "Internal use only, not for distribution" is reasonable.  The 
copyright statement is separate from the license; you can list that 
somewhere else.

> I would like a statement which reflects the private and proprietary
> nature of the package, giving copyright to the writer and the company. I
> also don't want to violate the licensing of R and the packages I am
> using (RODBC, ggplot2, zoo).

I don't know the license terms of those packages, but the license of R 
lets you use it with your own private code with very few restrictions. 
The restrictions come if you choose to make copies or modifications of R 
and give or sell them to people.  So if you are giving this company your 
own package, we don't care how you license it to them.

If you are putting together an installer that includes both R and the 
package, then I would say you must license the package under the GPL, 
and make the source code available to the company you're giving it to. 
You needn't distribute it to anyone else, but you can't stop the company 
from doing so.  So if it is private because you don't want it released 
but the company might want to redistribute it, then don't package it 
with R.  If it is private because the company doesn't want it released, 
then license it in whatever way you and they agree is reasonable.

But don't trust what I write as legal advice.

Duncan Murdoch

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