In their run for re-licensing the CodeIgniter codebase under OSL (which in itself looks violating the shared authorship copyright as a whole as it has not yet been clarified with all authors and copyright holders in concrete), in a blog post earlier this year EllisLab makes an interesting conclusion about source-code and copyright: It does not depend what the work is, but which file you edit (and into which files you place your edits).
OSL is a strong copyleft license like the more well known AGPL license in terms of the ASP loophole which requires you to share the code of the application you make useable to others. The license’s writer was very specific that it’s about copyright law and not technical details.
I already criticised EllisLab choice of the OSL last year for various reasons incl. GPL incompatibility – most free software is available under GPL – but couldn’t leave the message.
Now the examples and comments given in the more recent post hit the nail: EllisLab does not care about copyright, they care about technical details, the name of the file you place your code in.
Well, what do you expect from programmers, that when asked multiple times what their legal backup says to concrete points, stopped making statements?
Naturally a disclaimer from here to east of the Mississippi is placed above the article to leave their users alone. So if you’re looking for an open source (PHP) framework for personal or commercial projects, why not consider using one under a license that is BSD or MIT like instead? The overall PHP community has a lot of options here, most with a better code-quality than Codeigniter (which is a benefit, too).
Ask your lawyer, others have done that and switched away from Codeigniter already last year to reach save grounds again (the current Codeigniter license is more in the BSD camp). EllisLab itself was deaf to demands and criticism from their community (which was brought up earlier as well), instead they started educating their herd with the outcome we see today:
Copyright is a file-naming business (but we put a disclaimer on top that this is no legal advice).