Understanding Script Licenses

Each listing on Hot Script is released under a particular license as defined by its vendor or developer. A license is an agreement that defines the rights of the author and those of the end-user. To help you better understand the different types of licenses, we’ve listed and explained some of the most popular ones.

Freeware

Listings tagged as ‘freeware’ on Hot Scripts means that they are available for free. Even though being free, it can still be governed by other types of licenses like GPL or BSD licenses.

Commercial License

Also known as a propriety license, the commercial license involves an agreement of script usage under the settlement of a fee. Each commercial licenses will differ depending the author in terms of usage and redistribution rights, and as a buyer, it is important that you read and understand the commercial license prior to purchasing the script. Some commercial licenses will restrict usage of scripts per number of users or per servers and usually include well-defined and restricted user rights for the end-users.

Free trial

A script under free trial allows you to test drive the script for a few days before making any buying decisions. Free trials scripts usually have their source code encrypted and are of two types: feature limited trials and fully-functional free trials. Free trials are ideal for evaluating a script before purchasing a full license. It allows you to test if the script works under your software environment or if it integrates perfectly with your existing web applications.

GPL

The GNU General Public License (GPL) allows a script to be used for any purposes. It gives you the freedom to modify the source code to suit your needs and you can even redistribute the script as long as you make the source code available again. A script available under GPL doesn’t mean that it should be free; web developers have rights to charge for a fee for their scripts. Finally, GPL doesn’t allow you to use an existing script in your commercial application.

LGPL

LGPL which stands for Lesser General Public License is similar to GPL with one main difference – any modifications done to the source code don’t require redistribution. Usually script libraries like PHP classes are available under LGPL and can be used in commercial applications without sharing the source code.

BSD Style

BSD License is closed to LGPL. It allows scripts to be used and distributed with or without source code modification as long as imposed author’s conditions are met. Some of these conditions usually require that copyright and disclaimer notices are retained. Similar to LGPL, BSD License allows you to use any scripts under the license for proprietary commercial products.

PHP License

The PHP License was originally developed for protecting the PHP programming language. Scripts under this license can be redistributed with or without modifications as long as the PHP license copyright statement is included and the word ‘PHP’ is not included in the title of the derived product.

Free for non-commercial use

Some scripts can be used for free as long as the usage is for personal non-commercial purposes. There is a lot of ambiguity with this type of license – the most concise definition that has been put forward is that a script with a ‘free for non-commercial use’ can only be used if you are not compensated in any form from its usage. Since interpretations vary amongst web developers – it is wise to check with the vendor or developer first before using the script.

Other free / Open source license

There are many more open source licenses other than the GPL, BSD or PHP licenses. For a list of other approved licenses, please visit The Open Source Initiative (OSI).

If you have any questions about script licenses, please leave a comment.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for breaking each license down into a simple to understand summary. Everything I been reading on licenses give you all the legal terminology and such which can be a challenge to figure out.