LegalOpen SourceRegulationSoftwareWorkspace

Mozilla Updates Its Public Licence

Mozilla releases an update on its licence after a two-year collaborative update

Mozilla, the open source foundation responsible for Firefox, has released an update to its decade old licence.

MPL 2.0, a file-level copyleft licence,  is the result of a two-year project to review the 1.1 licence and update it to fit into current usage and technological advancements.

Out with the old

According to its developers, the license, used by the Mozilla project for much of its code, including Firefox and Thunderbird, is designed to “Encourage contributors to share modifications they make to MPL-licensed code, while still allowing users to create projects that combine MPL-licensed code with code under other licenses (either open or proprietary)”.

In a statement, Mozilla said that the new licence had recieved the approval of the Free Software Foundation as a free software license and been acknowledged by the Open Source Initiative as an Open Source license.

According to the announcement, MPL 2.0 is simpler and shorter, having taken out elements not required in an open source license. It has been modernised to fall in with modern copyright law, and incorporates feedback from lawyers outside the United States on issues of applicability in non-US jurisdictions.

The licence also provides patent protection for contributors that more closely align with other open source licenses, allowing the entire community of contributors to protect any contributor if they are sued, according to the statement. It also offers greater compatibility with the Apache and GPL licenses, making code reuse and redistribution easier.

The update process included feedback and suggestions from the Mozilla community, users of the MPL, and the open source legal community,