Nonsensical Software Licensing

I’ve seen some PHP scripts that are distributed for free but with an illogical license. Let me show you of a sample license that in my opinion, makes absolutely no sense:

XXX is free software. This License grants you to use this software free of charge for as long as you wish. You may not use, copy, rent, lease, sell, modify, decompile, disassemble, otherwise reverse engineer, or transfer the licensed program except as provided in this agreement. Any such unauthorized use shall result in immediate and automatic termination of this license.

So why do I find this license absurd? For one thing, the software in question is a collection of PHP scripts that interfaces with a MySQL database. So, there’s no chance in hell that you can use the scripts without changing the database connection settings such as the database name, username, password and host info. Just by changing the database connection settings a user would therefore be “illegally” modifying the program.

In addition to that, this set of scripts has a built-in theming system. Why include such a system if the license itself disallows the end user to make any modifications to the program? Another question that begs answering is; “How would one ‘decompile, disassemble, or reverse engineer’ intepreted code that is 100% viewable anyway?”

Sometimes I just wonder what the script developer is hoping to achieve by offering a “free” intepreted, source code only software under such a ridiculous license.

4 responses to “Nonsensical Software Licensing”.

  1. Klaw Says:

    Seems like the licensing details were added as an afterthought. Seems more like a careless C&P job.

  2. Site Admin Azmeen Says:

    Likely. Or it could be that the developer original made the software for a project and decided to publicly release it later.

    The license should still be updated though.

  3. Dabido Says:

    The start of the third sentence “You may not use, …” should have been a dead give away! 🙂

  4. Kay Kastum Says:

    ..or maybe they “copy & paste” it from other EULA they found.. ?