The Attribution Assurance License (AAL): Balancing Openness and Recognition

In the realm of open-source licensing, the Attribution Assurance License (AAL) stands out as a unique and intriguing choice. Designed to strike a balance between open-source principles and the need for proper attribution, the AAL ensures that creators receive credit for their work while allowing users to benefit from and build upon the software. In this article, we will explore the AAL in-depth, discussing its key features, implications, and relevance in the open-source landscape.

What is the Attribution Assurance License (AAL)?

The Attribution Assurance License (AAL) is an open-source license that places importance on attribution while granting users the freedom to use, modify, and distribute the licensed software. It was created to address the challenge of recognizing and acknowledging the contributions of developers and maintaining the spirit of openness in the open-source community.

Key Features of the Attribution Assurance License (AAL):

  1. Attribution Requirement: One of the primary features of the AAL is its emphasis on proper attribution. Users who distribute or modify software licensed under the AAL are obligated to provide credit to the original authors or contributors. This ensures that recognition is given to those who have dedicated their time and effort to creating the software.
  2. Flexibility in Licensing: The AAL allows users to distribute the licensed software under different licenses, providing flexibility in terms of incorporating the software into larger projects. This versatility enables developers to adapt and combine the software with other components while adhering to the attribution requirements.
  3. Modification and Redistribution: Similar to many open-source licenses, the AAL grants users the freedom to modify and distribute the software. However, it places importance on the obligation to attribute the original authors, even when modifications are made.

Implications of the Attribution Assurance License (AAL):

  1. Maintaining Attribution: By requiring proper attribution, the AAL ensures that developers receive credit for their contributions. This not only acknowledges their work but also helps foster a culture of recognition and collaboration within the open-source community.
  2. Compatibility with Other Licenses: The AAL’s flexibility in licensing allows developers to incorporate the licensed software into projects with different licensing requirements. This compatibility facilitates the integration of AAL-licensed software into larger codebases and promotes collaboration among diverse open-source projects.
  3. Protecting Developer Interests: The AAL strikes a balance between openness and ensuring recognition for developers’ efforts. By requiring attribution, it helps protect the interests of original authors while still allowing users to benefit from and contribute to the software.

Relevance and Considerations:

The AAL offers a unique approach to open-source licensing, particularly in situations where attribution is valued and required. Projects that aim to acknowledge and honor the contributions of developers may find the AAL well-suited to their objectives.

When considering the AAL for a project, it is important to assess the compatibility of the license with other components and dependencies. Understanding the obligations and responsibilities associated with the AAL will ensure compliance and proper attribution in any distribution or modification of the software.


The Attribution Assurance License (AAL) provides a thoughtful and balanced approach to open-source licensing by highlighting the importance of proper attribution while allowing users to utilize and adapt the licensed software. By recognizing the contributions of developers, the AAL fosters a culture of collaboration and respect within the open-source community. As the landscape of open-source software continues to evolve, licenses like the AAL offer innovative solutions to ensure both the freedom of use and the recognition of original creators.

If you’re interested in exploring a comprehensive list of various open-source licenses and their details, feel free to check out our guide to “Open Source Licenses : A Guide To Software Licensing“. Happy licensing!

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