Free Improvement License

  Free Improvement License v0.1: This product is protected under the Free Improvement License (FIL). It is neither proprietary nor public domain. Use is subject to the terms and conditions of the FIL, which are included with the product. Do not copy or redistribute this product unless it is specifically permitted by the FIL. No guarantees are made as to this product's usability and it is provided as-is without warranties express or implied. Do not use this product for critical applications such as life support.

  Introduction: The Free Improvement License was designed to be a brief and broadly useful license agreement designed to uphold some important philosophies of creative works. Those philosophies are:

1. That plagiarism is offensive and unproductive;

2. That use of another's works for educational purposes or as a basis for starting whole new projects is not always plagiarism but instead can be beneficial;

3. That dead or unsupported projects deserve to live on, and anyone who wants to improve a discontinued project is free to do so.

With those philosophies in mind, a product bearing the FIL license may only be used in a manner consistent with these rules and guidelines:

While the product is being actively developed, no reproductions of the product may be made without consent of at least 85% of those who are actively developing it. This includes duplicating the product, selling it, including it in a compilation, or distributing the product. For example, putting software protected by the FIL onto a CD or a website and providing either to the public would not be allowed.

If the product has not been revised in a long time, and none of the developers are reachable after significant attempts to make contact, or those who do respond express a total lack of interest, the product can be assumed to be discontinued (either temporarily or permanently). In such a case the product can be revised and provided through an alternate means (e.g. other site, CD, new printing, etc.) only under the following conditions:

1. The FIL remains intact and authoritative, using either the last version included with the product before it was discontinued or a verified newer revision of the FIL;

2. The first public release of the duplicate project contains at least one major improvement, which will be left to the discretion of the previous owners should a dispute arise.

Regardless of whether the product has been discontinued or is still active, it may be freely used for Fair Use purposes such as criticism, review, demonstration, parody, education, etc. Even if the applicable law does not necessarily grant all of these permissions the FIL grants them additionally. The situations where a derivative work would not be in violation of the FIL will meet most or all of these requirements:

1. The derivative work does not devalue or attempt to replace the original, or otherwise harm its market share significantly. A derivative work of the product should never serve almost the same purpose as the original. If the derivative work uses portions of the product for a different purpose it is not in violation of this requirement;

2. The derivative work only requires use of a portion of the product to serve its purpose, and does not include the product as a whole;

3. The derivative work shall rely more on factual or mechanical contributions than creative or artistic contributions to the original project. Only a majority of the factual type of content must be established. For example, taking a graphics filter to double the brightness of an image is more mechanical, but taking a graphics filter that knows how to make a picture look like a painting is not, because it is a creative form of programming more than a mechanical operation.

4. The derivative work should have its own creative or literary value that stands on its own without necessarily mandating use of the product.

Requirements and definitions: To clarify and improve the effectiveness of the FIL the following provisions need to be considered:

All projects using the FIL need a list of all the maintainers who wish to be acknowledged and decide whether a reproduction is allowable. Anonymous maintainers do not need to provide more than an e-mail address. If a project is discontinued and resumed elsewhere the old list of maintainers should, but does not necessarily have to be included and appropriately marked.

Use of the License itself: You are free to re-use the FIL on your own projects without notice; however use of the name "Free Improvement License" and FIL version numbers require that you provide the License intact, unmodified.

Free Improvement License v0.1 was drafted by the following contributors:
Timoran Synkral

2006 Timoran J. Synkral. All rights reserved.