Cypherpunks anti-License


The intent of the Cypherpunks anti-License (CPL) is to inform users that they are free to use and redistribute the indicated work or any derived or modified work in any manner they choose. Works distributed under the CPL are in the Public Domain.


The CPL is not a license, it does not require the user to do or not do anything; the user does not agree to any terms, because there are no terms, and the user does not need to do anything to indicate acceptance or rejection of the CPL.

Non Litigation

The CPL serves to pledge to the user that the distributors will behave in a manner consistent with the non-existance of Intellectual Property (IP) laws as far as they are able. The distributors will not use or participate as far as they are able to government legal systems to attempt to enforce requests restricting the use, modifications, or redistribution of the work for perpetuity. The distributor may prefer to be anonymous to preclude attempts to coerce them into enforcing IP laws relating to this work against their will.


The work may be distributed with some distributor requests in addition to the CPL. The distributor pledges similarly to not attempt to use IP laws to enforce these requests.


Users choosing to redistribute this work may change anything about the work, including distributing it under a different license, and adding or removing previous distributors requests.


The CPL is completely liberal. Here are some examples of implications of this which are not true for many licenses. The user can redistribute the work or a derived or modified work Requests can be arbitrary, but are requests only. Example of requests that the distributor may choose to make:

Legacy Considerations

The distributor may choose to inform the user of his opinion of the IP status of the work, for example by identifying any IP law restricted aspects such as the copyright holders of parts or the whole of the work, trademark owners of trademarks used in the work, potentially applicable patents on algorithms or ideas contained in the work, but the distributor is not obliged to do so and takes no responsibility for the accuracy of such information.


The CPL is written from a mindset which derides the very concept of Intellectual Property restrictions as being incompatible with a free society.

Cryptographically assured anonymity and anonymous use of Internet resources mean that denizens of cypherspace can ignore copyright, licenses attempting to control use and distribution of works, and patents on ideas. It is not possible to enforce IP laws by calls to government legal systems when the flaunter is strongly anonymous.

The enforcement of IP law and anonymity are in direct conflict. To fully enforce IP laws, anonymity would have to be outlawed. Cypherpunks believe this would be a bad thing, because control of information imparts power, and anonymity gives individuals control over disclosure of information about themselves and their actions.