This blog is retired.

How to Give Your Hard Work Away For Free

Good job! You’ve built a great web site that’s going to attract a lot of visitors. But before you start counting all of that money you plan to make, take a moment to meet Mr. FUD.

Yep, good old Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt is about to step into your life if you’re thinking about adding a CAPTCHA gateway to your registration or message forms. Here are two reasons why:

1. Check the licensing restrictions of the tool that you’ve selected. Some CAPTCHA products have clauses that severely limit your integration options. Some even require a separate license for each page that you protect! But that’s not the worse part – read on.

2. Here comes the killer. You decided to save yourself some money by grabbing one of those free CAPTCHA tools that’s covered by the GNU Public license. Smart move, right?

Wrong! Put your lawyer’s hat on, read the GPL license agreement, and you’ll come across this clause:

“You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.”

What? So, after spending all of that time and money building a killer site, you add a GPL CAPTCHA and now, in order to be legal, you have to give all of your code away to the world including your competitor. Sure, you could violate the license, and hope no one notices, but then you’re also violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and that could cost you a fortune.

The final word: Check your CAPTCHA license carefully, or take the high road and avoid all technical and legal issues by simply installing Advanced Textual Confirmation. No lawyer’s hat required!