What license to use for a non profit website?

What license to use for a non profit website?
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#1

A non-profit organisation approached me to build a full-stack (including front-end, backend) website for them for free. I agreed to it so I can make a portfolio of relevant projects. But I want the source code to remain open source and publicly accessible on github.

But I think the organisation would want to hold the copyright to the finished website itself.

So what are my options here? Is it even possible that the finished product has a copyright to someone while the source code is open.

Also if we do go the closed source route, how do I make sure I get the due credit? So that I can showcase my work to future employers? Some employers might want to view the source code, how would I share it with them?

Any ideas, campers? I haven’t yet talked to them about any licensing issues. I thought to take your suggestion before talking to them about this.

Thanks.


#2

I’m no expert, but …

But I want the source code to remain open source and publicly accessible on github.

Well, if you’re doing front end work, it’s kind of all “open” isn’t it? There is nothing you can really hide - all the html is readable, as is the css and javascript. So really you’d just have another copy of it on github.

But I think the organisation would want to hold the copyright to the finished website itself.

They can still have a copyright on the material and let you have a copy on github. It think they’re more worried about someone copying their website and using it as a web site. I’d explain to them that git hub is an industry standard and any front end work is easy to copy anyway.

Is it even possible that the finished product has a copyright to someone while the source code is open.

Sure. I can check out a book from the library but it is still copyrighted.

Also if we do go the closed source route, …

I think you are misunderstanding “closed source” - it doesn’t necessarily mean that the code is hidden, just that people are not free to edit it and come up with their one versions. All frontend code is “open” to the public (except for preprocessor stuff). That is not the same issue of whether or not you keep a copy on github or not. You can still put it on github with a tight licence statement.

how do I make sure I get the due credit? So that I can showcase my work to future employers?

You can still link to it on your portfolio page. Unless this is for some hidden site somewhere, they won’t object to a link to their page. Most organizations want as many links to their page as possible.

A big issue, is: Are you getting paid for this? If the answer is “yes”, then you definitely need to have a talk with them. I would explain to them. You will retain the copyright to the site and the information on it, but I will store my revisions on github (which is the industry standard) and there is nothing they can find there that they can’t already find by clicking ctrl-u on your page. I also agree not to reuse this page for future clients.

If they’re not paying you, then they’re being unreasonable - the chance to show off your work is why we do pro bono work for NPOs when we’re starting out in the first place.


#3

Thanks for the answer. I have updated my question to add the relevant missing information.
Another question tho

You can still put it on github with a tight licence statement

What license would I use? Is there any existing license like that which I could just use instead of having to write it on my own?


#4

Here is some info on licenses:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Here’s some discussion:

Maybe I’m overstating how “closed” something on github can be. They seem to imply that anyone is allowed to fork anything (unless the repo is private, which means paying for github.) I imagine you can still put a strict “All rights reserved. Do not publish for commerical or non-commercial use.” type warning in the license.

But again, I think there is less of a concern here than (you assume) the NPO has. Forgive me, but are you going to be doing some groundbreaking coding here? Are you going to be doing extensive backend work that will give them market dominance? Assuming this is just a standard web page, then there isn’t anything to steal. All you have is the look and feel of the web site, and unless the web site is going to be a secret, everyone will see that anyway.

I think their main concern would be that you’re going to use what you made for them as a template and copy off 75 pages next week that look exactly the same. It should be easy to assure them that you won’t.

Even if they still freak out, you can just leave it off github and link to their site from your portfolio page.


#5

Thanks. Really appreciate your answers. :grinning: