How to use Apache 2.0 license in commercial products, explained in simple terms

If you were wondering whether you can use  apache licensed code in your commercial applications and what do you need to do in order to comply with the license here’s the unofficial simple ans short answer.

You can use Apache 2.0 licensed source code in your project as long as you include the copy of the license in your distribution and provide attribution in an applicable way in your distribution.

The slightly lengthier and detailed (but still very simple explanation) is below, taken from Apache license FAQ

Describing legal documents in non-legalese is fraught with potential for misinterpretation. Notwithstanding the text that follows, the actual text of the license itself is legally binding and authoritative.

That said, here’s what the Apache license says in layman’s terms:

It allows you to:

  • freely download and use Apache software, in whole or in part, for personal, company internal, or commercial purposes;
  • use Apache software in packages or distributions that you create.

It forbids you to:

  • redistribute any piece of Apache-originated software without proper attribution;
  • use any marks owned by The Apache Software Foundation in any way that might state or imply that the Foundation endorses your distribution;
  • use any marks owned by The Apache Software Foundation in any way that might state or imply that you created the Apache software in question.

It requires you to:

  • include a copy of the license in any redistribution you may make that includes Apache software;
  • provide clear attribution to The Apache Software Foundation for any distributions that include Apache software.

It does not require you to:

  • include the source of the Apache software itself, or of any modifications you may have made to it, in any redistribution you may assemble that includes it;
  • submit changes that you make to the software back to the Apache Software Foundation (though such feedback is encouraged).

10 thoughts on “How to use Apache 2.0 license in commercial products, explained in simple terms

  1. I am not sure that I understand your question right. This article is mostly about how to use some code (say a library) that has been licensed out by Apache 2.0 license in a commercial product. To license out your code under Apache license, you need to follow licensing procedure, which is basically you have to say explicitly that you license under the Apache 2.0 license (one of the necessary steps would be to include copy of the license, yes), but I encourage you to research more into the finer details. Hope this helps!

  2. If I include the Apache License with my comercial product, does this mean that It is distributed under Apache License?

  3. I am not sure that I understand your question right. This article is mostly about how to use some code (say a library) that has been licensed out by Apache 2.0 license in a commercial product. To license out your code under Apache license, you need to follow licensing procedure, which is basically you have to say explicitly that you license under the Apache 2.0 license (one of the necessary steps would be to include copy of the license, yes), but I encourage you to research more into the finer details. Hope this helps!

  4. I am interesting how to provide clear attribution to The Apache Software Foundation for any distributions that include Apache software.

    I wan't to use library under Apache 2.0 license in my commercial project, which must be distributed under other license. If I include Apache 2.0 license into my project as it is needed, how to indicate, that this Apache 2.0 license is applyed only to library's part?

  5. This is far more complex question than I am qualified to answer. I can just say what I think. From what I know you can use Apache licensed code in your commercial project without any problem and without distributing source code, just the Apache license. And you do need to give a proper attribution to the original project/library. I suggest that you research more into this in more details. The above short guide is a quick and “dirty” guide how to include Apache 2.0 licensed code in a commercial project. If there are some nuances that you want to address, I am afraid you will have to dig deeper into the details unfortunately :)
    I am not a lawyer, I am a software developer like yourself and I just posted the above as a short summary to reference myself and to give it to others the gist in a short and concise form.

  6. Can I translate the document under apache license 2.0? While, I will distribute it under apache licese 2.0 too.

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