Open Requirements

Openness is at the heart of our theory of change. Only by being open with our work can others replicate it freely and, so-doing, increase the benefit to society. Everything we work on is designed to demonstrate the power of openness, participation and creative thinking and approaches. If our work is shared, applied and adapted to suit conditions we cannot yet imagine, the results will speak for themselves. We believe your work can contribute to building such an open knowledge society too. That is why we require open communications, open licenses, open source and open reporting.

As a Shuttleworth Fellow, you will be creating knowledge resources by writing, gathering data, contributing to designs and so on. These are covered by Intellectual Property. Knowledge resources and Intellectual Property that you create or pay for during a Fellowship year belong to you. Alternatively you may appoint an Intellectual Property Steward to hold the Intellectual Property. The Open Requirements apply to both Fellows and Intellectual Property Stewards appointed by Fellows. The term “you” in the Open Requirements means you as a Fellow or an Intellectual Property Steward.

The Open Requirements apply to all knowledge resources and Intellectual Property you create or pay for during the Fellowship year, whether they vest in you as Fellow or as Intellectual Property Steward. In the Open Requirements 'Intellectual Property' means patents, rights to inventions, registered designs, semiconductor product and mask rights, design rights, know-how, trade secrets, trademarks, Uniform Resource Locators (URL), all rights of copyright, neighboring rights, database rights and all rights having equivalent or similar effect anywhere in the world.


As a Shuttleworth Fellow, the knowledge resources and Intellectual Property you create will belong to you to ensure you have the power to continue to use, share and evolve it. To help you get your ideas out into the world and realise the potential value of openness, you will release everything as an open resource. Resources are open when they are available for revision, translation, improvement and sharing, under open licenses, open standards and in open formats, free from technical protection measures.

When you as Fellow pay someone to create anything with funds from the Foundation, then you must ensure that the Intellectual Property is owned by you. Ownership of Intellectual Property under the Open Requirements is good and sufficient consideration for you to comply with the Open Requirements. In any Fellowship year you can transfer ownership of any of the Intellectual Property under the Open Requirements only with the prior written agreement of the Foundation.

The Foundation wants to future proof its investment in Intellectual Property by ensuring it is open, available and re-useable by anyone over the long term. To ensure this, you grant a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty free right to the Foundation to distribute your Intellectual Property covered by the Open Requirements under the licenses, permissions and waivers set out in the Open Requirements.

Open Content and Data

You must make knowledge resources open as defined in the Open Definition “A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.” You must share knowledge resources using a format that is platform independent, machine readable, editable and available to the public without restrictions that would impede the re-use of the information. You must share data under Creative Commons 0 or another license or dedication that complies with the Open Definition.

Free and Open Source Software

You must distribute software under the General Public License 3.0 or another license listed by the Open Source Initiative as complying with the Open Source Definition. You must license software that functions primarily as network server software under the GNU Affero General Public License.

Open Hardware

You must license all hardware under a license or licenses that comply with the Open Source Hardware Definition. If semiconductor chip products or mask rights apply to anything you create or pay for as Fellow during the Fellowship year you must give an irrevocable non-exclusive royalty free license or licenses under those rights that enables anyone to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import or distribute products conditional only upon attribution and share-alike requirements.

Patents and Registered Designs

You must not register a patent, utility patent, registered design, plant breeder's right or similar registered right over any knowledge resource or Intellectual Property.