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2020-09-19 - 13:57

OSADL Open Source Policy Template: The Basis for License Compliance

Background and goal of the project

The lesson learned from years of supporting our members with Open Source license compliance is that most issues can be handled and most problems be avoided by establishing a company-wide Open Source policy. Such a document aims to make sure that appropriate processes are in place and all employees of a company are safely informed and instructed how to treat Open Source software so license compliance can be achieved.

As different industries and different companies have different requirements on content, form and scope of a compliance policy, OSADL has created a collection of documents that together constitute the OSADL Open Source Policy Template.

Structure of the Open Source Policy Template

This Open Source Policy is not meant to be used as is, but serves as a template from which an individual policy can be created. It contains

  • Template texts for the various chapters of a FOSS policy that can be adapted according to a company’s requirements. These texts are made up of instructions with brief explanations for anyone who reads and implements the FOSS policy.
  • Additional explanations for whoever creates a company’s individual FOSS policy from this template.
  • Ready made text block templates that may be used to modify or extend existing company contracts and other documents, such as employment contracts.
  • A choice of possible options, when there are various possibilities of interpreting or handling a situation.
  • Templates for annexes to a company’s FOSS policy including processes and forms that can be completed to provide legal and other information on projects and products.
  • Supplements for further reading to provide technology background and explain relevant aspects of copyright law and license compliance in more detail.

The policy template consists of one main pdf document that can be filled out according to a company's requirements. Annexes and Supplements are separate pdf files that are linked from the main document.

Access to the documents

The OSADL Open Source Policy Template can be accessed in two ways:

  1. The layouted pdf documents that can be filled out individually are available to employees of OSADL member companies on request. Write to us at infoª
  2. Some companies might prefer to customize the policy template more extensively than is possible from the provided pdf template documents. Therefore, a plain text version is available on GitHub to everyone at

Contribution history

The following persons have contributed to the OSADL Open Source Policy Template.





2019, 2020


Till Jaeger

Review of and contributions to all documents in the first version.

2019, 2020


OSADL team

First complete version of the Open Source Policy Template


Tjaldur Software Governance Solutions

Armijn Hemel

First versions of supplements How to: Acknowledgments and How to rebuild



Till Jaeger

Outline of the Open Source Policy Template


The OSADL Open Source Policy Template is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC-BY-4.0),

© 2019, 2020 Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL) eG and contributors, infoª

Attribution text

"A project by the Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL) eG. For further information about authors and contributors see the contribution history at"