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The licensing regime you offer your users (whether it's a single form of license or a range of options) may have a profound effect on the sorts of collaborations that can ensue. If people are unsure about their legal rights or worried about losing their rights or (worse yet) being charged with infringing on the rights of others, ordinary risk-aversion will tend to decreate the amount of participation.

There are ethical implications for any system of licenses but the considerations are many. We don't necessarily suggest that you follow any specific regime, but here are some of the most common in use online:

  • Public Domain - the most liberal, some content will eventually enter the public domain even when originally given a tighter license
  • Creative Commons - a nuanced range of choices designed to give options encouraging reuse
  • Copyleft - an un-copyright regime invented by hackers
  • Copyright - traditional government-enforced copyright, which has been tending to become imbalanced in favor of original creators and against the public domain