Skip to content

Public Awareness & Transparent Heritage (PATH) License

Version 0.1a August 22st 2023

Copyright © 2023 Grassroots Economics Foundation, Inc.

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.


In the spirit of knowledge sharing, the Public Awareness & Transparent Heritage (PATH) License aims to encourage transparency, equity, and community-centered practices in the distribution and exchange of all offerings, be they tangible goods, services, software, or intangible assets. By adhering to this license, entities affirm their commitment to public awareness and uphold the ideals of a transparent heritage. Many licenses are crafted to restrict your ability to share and adapt what is offered. In contrast, the PATH License aims to ensure your freedom to share, adapt, and understand all versions of an offering, ensuring it remains accessible and transparent for all its recipients. This can apply to many types of offerings including software but also with respect to food. e.g. The Recipent of tomatoes (an offering) using this license would have the right to full disclosure from the Provider on the origin, farming practices and variety of tomatoes - as as well have the right to use it in a recipe for pizza and offer pizza under the same license - again giving Full Disclosure to any following Recipients.

When we mention "free" in the context of this license, we refer to freedom of use and understanding, not cost. The PATH License ensures that you can distribute offerings (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive Full Disclosure about the offering, and that you can adapt or use parts of it in new offerings, knowing you have the rights to do so.

Providers using the PATH License safeguard your rights by: (1) asserting rights over the offering, and (2) granting you this License, which provides legal permission to reproduce, copy, distribute, and/or modify the offering.

A notable advantage of this approach is that enhancements made in alternate versions of an offering, if they gain traction, become available for other providers to integrate. Many providers are motivated by the resulting collaboration. However, for offerings like software used on network servers, this collaborative spirit might not always manifest. The PATH License ensures that in such scenarios, any modifications made are transparently available to the community. It mandates that operators of such offerings provide Comprehensive Insight into any modified version being used.

The PATH License is inspired by previous licenses that aimed to achieve similar transparency and community-focused goals such as AGPL3.0. The specific terms and conditions for copying, distribution, and modification are detailed in the following sections.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Definitions:

    1. "Offering" encompasses any goods, services, software, intangible assets, or other entities that are sold, given, exchanged, or to which access is granted. The "Offering" itself is akin to the final product or service that recipients interact with, similar to an food product or the binary or executable form of a software program.
    2. "Provider" refers to any distributor, reseller, or entity that offers access to an offering, or any derivative or modified version of it.
    3. "Recipient" denotes any individual, group, or entity that receives, acquires, or is granted access to the offering, whether through purchase, exchange, gift, or any other means.
    4. "Convey" an offering means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or receive copies. Mere interaction with a Recipient with no offering being accepted, is not conveying.
    5. "Comprehensive Insight" for an offering refers to the detailed information, documentation, and resources that provide a holistic understanding of the offering, enabling modifications or adaptations. This includes Primary and System Componets, Standard Interfaces and Corresponding Insights.
    6. "Primary Component" in this context refers to a fundamental element or feature of the specific environment or platform in which the offering operates or is utilized.
    7. "System Components" of an offering encompass any elements, other than the offering as a whole, that (a) are typically included when packaging a Primary Component but are not part of that Primary Component, and (b) solely facilitate the use of the offering with that Primary Component or implement a Standard Interface for which Comprehensive Insight is publicly accessible.
    8. "Standard Interface" denotes an interface or method of interaction that is either an established standard defined by a recognized body or, in the context of specific offerings, one that is widely accepted and utilized within that domain.
    9. "Corresponding Insight" for an offering encompasses all the comprehensive insight required to understand, adapt, and utilize the offering and to make modifications to it. This includes any tools, methods, or scripts integral to these activities. However, it excludes the offering's System Components or any general-purpose tools or universally accessible free methods used unaltered in these activities but not intrinsic to the offering. For instance, Corresponding Insight would include definitions, specifications, or any other essential details linked with the offering, and the comprehensive insight for interconnected components that the offering is explicitly designed to work with.

      The Corresponding Insight doesn't need to cover elements that recipients can easily derive or reproduce from other parts of the Corresponding Insight. For an offering in its Comprehensive Insight form, the Corresponding Insight is the offering itself.

    The Tomato Example

    Imagine a unique variety of tomato being offered in a market. This tomato, let's call it the "SunBlush Tomato," is not just any ordinary tomato; it has been cultivated using specific techniques, resulting in a distinct flavor profile and nutritional benefits.

    1. The Offering: The "SunBlush Tomato" itself, which consumers can buy, taste, and use in their dishes, represents the "Offering." It's the tangible product that recipients interact with.

    2. Corresponding Insight: To truly understand and replicate the SunBlush Tomato, one would need its:

      1. The specific seed variety or genetic makeup of the SunBlush Tomato.
      2. The soil composition and farming techniques that were used to cultivate it.
      3. The unique harvesting and storage methods that ensure its distinct flavor and freshness.
      4. Recipes or culinary techniques that best showcase its unique properties.
    3. Standard Interface: In the context of our tomato, a "Standard Interface" might refer to common methods of tomato cultivation or standard culinary techniques used in preparing tomatoes.

    4. System Components: These could be the general farming tools used in the cultivation of many crops, not just the SunBlush Tomato. For instance, standard watering systems, generic fertilizers, or common storage bins that aren't unique to the SunBlush Tomato's cultivation process.

    5. Primary Component: In this example, the "Primary Component" could be the specific greenhouse environment or the particular soil bed where the SunBlush Tomato is grown, which plays a crucial role in its unique characteristics.

    When someone buys the SunBlush Tomato, they get the "Offering." But if they wish to understand its uniqueness, cultivate it themselves, or explore its full potential in culinary applications, they would need the "Comprehensive Insight." Under the PATH License, if the SunBlush Tomato is offered with this license, the provider would be obligated to share this Comprehensive Insight, ensuring transparency and allowing recipients to fully understand and potentially replicate or adapt the offering.

  2. Basic Permissions: All rights granted under this License persist for the term of any applicable rights on the Offering and are irrevocable as long as the stated conditions are met. This License explicitly affirms your unlimited permission to utilize the unmodified Offering. The outcome or product resulting from the use of a covered offering is governed by this License only if the outcome, considering its content, qualifies as a covered offering. This License recognizes your rights of fair use or other equivalents, as provided by applicable laws.

    You may create, utilize, and propagate covered offerings that you do not convey, without conditions, as long as your license remains valid. You may convey covered offerings to others solely for them to make modifications exclusively for you or to provide you with facilities for utilizing those offerings, ensuring that you adhere to the terms of this License when conveying any material for whic'h you don't hold the rights. Those who modify or utilize the covered offerings for you must act exclusively on your behalf, under your guidance, and on terms that prevent them from creating any unauthorized copies of your protected material outside their association with you.

    Conveying under any other circumstances is allowed only under the conditions stated in this License. Sublicensing is not permitted; the provisions of this License make it unnecessary.

  3. Full Disclosure: When distributing or granting access to an offering, providers shall present recipients with exhaustive information vital for a holistic comprehension of said offering. If the nature of the offering allows, mechanisms must be instituted to facilitate access and potential modifications. This obligation is unceasing.

  4. Transparency of Alterations: Any divergences or subsequent changes from the original state of the offering must be candidly revealed by Providers.

  5. Reciprocal Transparency Responsibility: Recipients, in accepting, utilizing or leveraging the offering, are duty-bound to maintain the essence of these guidelines. This involves ensuring visibility for any alterations, derivatives, or re-distributions they might engage in. This continuous obligation, akin to a "share alike" ethos, mandates proper acknowledgment of sources.

  6. Engagements with External Offerings: In instances where the offering is integrated with another outside the purview of this license, provisions of this license persist for the original offering, retaining its accessibility and modifiability.

  7. Supportive Documentation: Providers must supply any auxiliary resources or explanations that are crucial for the user's effective engagement with the offering. This includes understanding, using, or potentially altering the offering.

  8. Parallel Freedom Provision: Should there arise a scenario where the offering's redistribution curtails customary access or adaptability, an obligation rests upon Providers to concurrently offer an unfettered version.

    Scenario: A local farmer, Mr. Green, has developed a unique variety of tomato that is more resilient to pests and has a longer shelf life. He decides to distribute these tomatoes under the PATH License. As part of his distribution, he also provides detailed information on the cultivation process, the seeds used, and the modifications he made to achieve this variety. After some time, a large agribusiness company, BigFarm Corp., takes interest in Mr. Green's tomatoes. They decide to buy a large quantity, package them in a special way, and sell them as "Premium Long-Lasting Tomatoes." However, in their packaging process, they use a proprietary method that seals the tomatoes in such a way that prevents recipients from extracting seeds for replanting. This method curtails the customary access to the seeds and the adaptability of the tomatoes (since recipients can't grow their own from these tomatoes).

    Application of Parallel Freedom Provision: Under the PATH License's "Parallel Freedom Provision," BigFarm Corp. has an obligation. While they can sell the specially packaged "Premium Long-Lasting Tomatoes," they must also offer a version of Mr. Green's tomatoes without the restrictive packaging. This ensures that customers who wish to access the seeds and understand the tomato's cultivation can do so. In essence, alongside their "Premium" version, they'd need to provide an "unfettered" version that adheres to the principles of the PATH License.

  9. Infringements and Repercussions: Undertakings that sidestep, subvert, or are in contradiction to this license's tenets render the action non-binding. Such infractions could lead to the temporary or permanent rescinding of the rights bestowed by this license upon the offender.

  10. Rights Assurance: This license is not in contravention of and does not diminish any entitlements that recipients might hold under applicable copyright laws, other relevant regulations, or patent or trademark obligations.

  11. Conveyance of Duties and Privileges: It falls upon Providers to unambiguously relay the responsibilities and advantages intrinsic to this license when distributing or granting access, thus empowering recipients with a lucid grasp of their entitlements and commitments.

  12. Disclaimer of Warranty and Limitation of Liability: The offering is provided "as is", without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. In no event shall the Provider be liable for any claim, damages, or other liability, whether in an action of contract, tort, or otherwise, arising from, out of, or in connection with the offering or the use or other dealings in the offering.

  13. Versioning and Updates: This license may be updated or revised in the future. Each version will be distinguished by a unique version number. When an offering is distributed or accessed under a specific version of this license, it will remain under that version's terms unless explicitly updated to a newer version by the Provider.


How to Apply These Terms

If you develop a new offering, whether it's a program, service, tangible good, or intangible asset, and you want it to be of the greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it available under the terms of the Public Awareness & Transparent Heritage (PATH) License. This ensures transparency, equity, and community-centered practices in its distribution and exchange.

To do so, attach the following notices to the offering. If it's a software program, it is safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively state the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least the "copyright" line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.

one line to give the offering's name and a brief idea of what it does. Copyright (C) (year) (name of author)

This offering is made available under the terms of the Public Awareness & Transparent Heritage (PATH) License v0.1.

This offering is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the PATH License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the Public Awareness & Transparent Heritage (PATH) License v0.1 along with this offering. If not, see

Also add information on how to contact you.

If your offering of software or service can interact with users remotely through a computer network, you should also make sure that it provides a way for users to get its details and source, if applicable. For example, if your offering is a web application, its interface could display a "Details" or "Source" link that leads users to an archive or description of the offering. There are many ways you could offer details, and different solutions will be better for different offerings; refer to the specific requirements of the PATH License.

Last update: 2024-04-17
Back to top