OpenMRS Contribution Policy

You and other contributors are part of the growing OpenMRS community. We work together to share ideas, software, documentation, bug fixes, development tools, project management resources, and anything else of value that you contribute to create successful implementations of electronic medical record systems and other health resources for the world. We share credit with our contributors for our success.

Our Contribution Policy is simple: Voluntary contributions are gratefully accepted as long as the OpenMRS community and all downstream users are allowed to use those contributions for our public benefit mission.

There are many kinds of contributions we invite you to make for this cause:

  • Tangible contributions of intellectual property such as source code and documentation, ideas and inventions, and other technical solutions to health care delivery problems
  • In-kind and financial donations to support our activities
  • Contributions of your time and your efforts to communicate and cooperate with each other in the OpenMRS project.

OpenMRS accepts intellectual property contributions of many kinds and then collects them into OpenMRS software distributions that are licensed to the public under the open source Mozilla Public License 2.0 with Healthcare Disclaimer (MPL 2.0 HD). Non-code contributions such as documentation, images, or other creative works are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The details around intellectual property contributions in particular are often tricky to understand. As described more fully below, OpenMRS project teams review all software contributions to ensure that open source licenses for the contributions are compatible with the MPL 2.0 HD license.

If you have questions about any aspect of the OpenMRS Contribution Policy, please contact

Contributions of Intellectual Property

Software includes both functional and expressive works, and it sometimes arrives encumbered with many varieties of legal interests that can be owned, licensed, monopolized or sold, or limited for its use in derivative or advanced software,The OpenMRS project collects such contributed software into larger packages that we distribute as collective works under the MPL 2.0 HD license. To do so, we must ensure that the open source licenses applying to those contributions are compatible with MPL 2.0 HD and that there are no intellectual property encumbrances that would prevent the use of our collective software for health care delivery worldwide.

As is described in the OpenMRS Copyright and DMCA Policy, we respect all copyrights and copyright licenses.

To ensure licensing consistency, we take steps to determine that contributions of intellectual property are not encumbered. These are the steps:

  • We accept contributions only from people who identify themselves with an account on OpenMRS websites (an “OpenMRS ID”). Each person’s profile, and all other materials he or she posts on OpenMRS websites, is available to the public. See the OpenMRS Privacy Policy for more information.
  • All contributions are required to be the contributor’s own work licensed to OpenMRS under an approved open source license, or a work that is licensed to that contributor for redistribution to OpenMRS under an approved open source license. OpenMRS project teams have responsibility for knowing their contributors and those contributions, as would be expected of any professional software project. Random contributions from unknown project participants without information suitable for a NOTICE file are likely not to be accepted by an OpenMRS project.
  • OpenMRS projects may accept ideas, suggestions, bug fixes, and other similar contributions from the public. The professional and academic rules of behavior in such situations say that we should identify and acknowledge those informal and formal contributions. A NOTICE file included with each OpenMRS distribution will identify the provenance of all contributions, to the best of the contributors’ and the project team’s current knowledge and belief. Each contributor is responsible for providing enough information so that the appropriate OpenMRS project team can prepare a correct NOTICE file.

Contents of the NOTICE File

The NOTICE file that accompanies every formal distribution of software by an OpenMRS project identifies each third-party component in that software and the open source or Creative Commons license under which that component is available to the public. The following information, if available, will also be included in the NOTICE file:

  • Copyright notices supplied by the licensor(s) of any part of the software. OpenMRS project teams may elect to remove individual copyright notices that detract from the “community” ethos of the project, but individual copyrights will still be protected by a legally-effective and encompassing copyright notice such as Copyright (C) 2014 OpenMRS Inc.
  • Patent notices identifying specific patents or patent claims that may read on the software. Contributors and all project team members are expected to disclose any patent claims of which they are aware. In the event that possible patent claims may be confidential, the contributor must disclose enough about them to alert the public about possible future encumbrances.
  • Identification of industry standards implemented by the software.
  • OpenMRS projects and contributors may also include acknowledgement and attribution to individuals, companies or other organizations for significant portions of the software or its documentation, or who contributed in other ways to the project as a whole.
  • Other important notices that the OpenMRS project team or its contributors want to share with the downstream users of that software.

Approved Open Source Licenses for OpenMRS Contributions

OpenMRS relies on the recommendations of Open Source Initiative, the Free Software Foundation, and Creative Commons to determine which free and open source licenses are compatible with the Mozilla Public License 2.0 with Healthcare Disclaimer (MPL 2.0 HD) under which OpenMRS distributes software and documentation.

Some of those licenses may not be compatible with the license requirements of some commercial companies. That is another purpose for the NOTICE file that OpenMRS projects provide with each software distribution. Each downstream modifier and/or distributor of OpenMRS software and documentation is responsible for making such license compatibility determinations for itself.

Rest assured that OpenMRS software and documentation can be used for free by everyone in the world under the open source MPL 2.0 HD license.

OpenMRS Copyright and DMCA Policy

All software on any OpenMRS website is distributed to the public by OpenMRS Inc. under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 with Healthcare Disclaimer (MPL 2.0 HD). All other content such as documentation or other creative works is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

OpenMRS Inc. and the OpenMRS community respect all copyrights and copyright licenses. If you see any infringing content, refer to the DMCA instructions at the end of this policy.

Software and Documentation Licenses

Individual components of OpenMRS software and documentation works may also be available to the public under the open licenses chosen by their copyright holders. We disclose information about those components and their licenses in the NOTICE file that accompanies our software.

See the OpenMRS Contribution Policy above for more information about the contents of the NOTICE file.

Website Content Copyrights

Any and all original material that is posted by any member of the public or by a registered OpenMRS contributor to any OpenMRS-operated website shall be publicly available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise noted. Certain material that is not original to OpenMRS (which will be specifically noted as such) may require permission from the copyright holder to redistribute.

You do NOT have to ask permission to post your own material on an OpenMRS mailing list or newsgroup. Refer to the OpenMRS Privacy Policy for additional information about such postings.

You do NOT have to ask permission to reprint an OpenMRS statement from our website in an article. Permission to do this is explicitly granted. Note also that the open source and Creative Commons licenses used for copyrighted materials on the OpenMRS website all allow such fair uses.

If you redistribute something you retrieved from an OpenMRS website, you must inform recipients where that copyrighted work originated, so people can get more information or updated versions directly at the OpenMRS website.

OpenMRS Trademarks

OpenMRS trademarks and logos may only be used in their unmodified forms. They are not licensed under an open source license. Graphic images files and guidelines for their use are available on the OpenMRS Logo wiki page on our website. You do NOT have to ask permission to use the official OpenMRS logo as a hyperlink to from your own website.

Refer to the OpenMRS Trademark Policy below for additional information.

DMCA Notices and Copyright Infringement Notification

If you believe there is content on an OpenMRS website that violates copyright law, let us know. The notice should be sent to our designated agent, Michael Downey via email (

Specifically, send us an email or letter that includes substantially the following:

  • A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
  • Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
  • Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.
  • Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
  • A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
  • A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

We may display a copy of your DMCA notice in place of the removed content.

Note: Under Section 512(f) of the DMCA, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing may be subject to liability for damages. In addition, “in order for a copyright owner to proceed under the DMCA with “a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law,” the owner must evaluate whether the material makes fair use of the copyright.” Lenz v. Universal, 572 F. Supp. 2d 1150, 1155 (2008)

OpenMRS reserves the right to review the allegedly infringing material and independently determine whether it is infringing.

Please also note that the information provided in this legal notice will be forwarded to the person who provided the allegedly infringing content. A copy of this legal notice may also be sent (with your personal information removed) to a third-party that may publish and/or annotate it for noncommercial research and educational purposes.

Counter-Notification: What You Can Do If Your Content Was Removed

If you believe material you posted to an OpenMRS site was not infringing, you can submit a counter-notice. If you need assistance in determining whether the material was not infringing, please find an independent attorney to evaluate your situation.

A counter-notification must include the following:

  • Identification of the specific URLs of material that OpenMRS has removed or to which OpenMRS has disabled access.
  • Your full name, address, telephone number, and email address.
  • The statement: “I consent to the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court for the district in which my address is located, or if my address is outside of the United States, the judicial district in which OpenMRS is located, and will accept service of process from the claimant.” OpenMRS is incorporated in the Southern District of Indiana.
  • The statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.”

A scanned physical signature or a valid electronic signature is fine.

Please send your counter-notice to Michael Downey via email (

Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability.

After we receive your counter-notification, we will forward it to the party who submitted the original claim of copyright infringement. Please note that when we forward the counter-notification, it includes your personal information. If you are concerned about protecting your anonymity, please consult with an attorney about other options.

After we send out the counter-notification, the claimant must then notify us within 10 business days that the claimant has filed an action seeking a court order to restrain you from engaging in infringing activity relating to the material on the OpenMRS site(s). If we receive such notification we will be unable to restore the material. If we do not receive such notification, generally we will reinstate the material.

Please also be advised that in appropriate circumstances we will deny access to the OpenMRS website by repeat infringers.

This text of this policy was adapted from the Copyright Policy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), licensed CC-BY.

OpenMRS Trademark Policy

Open source software from the OpenMRS project is free to copy, to modify and to distribute. It is given away under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 with Healthcare Disclaimer (MPL 2.0 HD).

Meanwhile, the trademarks for that software – including the “OpenMRS” word mark and the graphic logo on the top of this page – are kept as private property. Trademarks are different than copyrights, particularly in an open source community such as OpenMRS. Trademarks can only be copied for certain specific purposes (“nominative fair use”) and they cannot be modified in such a way as to confuse consumers about the origin of the FOSS software (“confusing similarity”). (These trademark law terms are described more completely below.)

Examples of FOSS trademarks: Linux, Eclipse, Apache, JBoss, MySQL, Firefox, Mozilla, Jaspersoft, Hadoop, Java, OpenOffice…

“OpenMRS” is like those trademarks. It is a visible brand associated around the world with high-quality open source medical record systems and associated applications. It is a brand that was created by our worldwide community. Our brand represents our collective pride and our reputation. We don’t want anyone to misuse or misappropriate our brand. We want the value of our trademarks to accrue to the OpenMRS project as a whole.

OpenMRS Inc. is a non-profit public benefit corporation that owns and manages all OpenMRS-related trademarks, service marks, and graphic logos in service of our volunteer community. As a US based corporation, we have a legal responsibility and the authority to set guidelines for the use of our marks. This Trademark Policy outlines how we use our trademarks and logos to identify OpenMRS® software developed and distributed by OpenMRS projects.

The following information helps ensure our marks and logos are used in approved ways, while making it easy for the community we serve to understand the guidelines. If you have any questions about the use of logos or trademarks that are not addressed in these guidelines, feel free to contact us at

Rationale for the OpenMRS® Trademark Policy

OpenMRS trademarks, service marks, and graphic marks are symbols of the quality and community support that people have come to associate with projects of the OpenMRS community. To ensure that the use of OpenMRS marks will not lead to confusion about our software, we must control their use in association with software and related services by others.

OpenMRS and its software must be clearly distinguishable from any software from third parties, and from software or services by any company or individual that is not specifically authorized and approved by OpenMRS.

We must also prevent OpenMRS marks from being used to disparage OpenMRS software, our projects, members, sponsors, or communities, and prevent their being used in any way to imply ownership, endorsement, or sponsorship of any OpenMRS-related project or initiative of any kind.

Key Trademark Principles

This document is not intended to summarize the complex law of trademarks. It will be useful, however, to understand the following key principles:

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this policy document, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.

These rules are generalized in this document to describe OpenMRS® software associated with the trademark “OpenMRS Foo™”, or more briefly “Foo™” when it is understood to refer to this specific OpenMRS Foo software. Like all OpenMRS software, this Foo software is maintained by an OpenMRS project or sub-project.

OpenMRS trademarks are either words (e.g., “OpenMRS” and “OpenMRS Foo” and “Foo”) or graphic logos that are intended to serve as trademarks for that OpenMRS software. The OpenMRS graphic logo at at the top of this page and described on the OpenMRS Logo wiki page, has special meaning for the OpenMRS community: We intend that graphic logo to be used for linking third party websites to the OpenMRS website.

Within OpenMRS projects, during our product release activity and on the OpenMRS website, we will make sure that our trademarks are marked with a ™ or (R) symbol or shown with trademark notices where appropriate so that everyone will recognize them as OpenMRS trademarks. A current list of OpenMRS trademarks is at

What is nominative use?

Anyone can use OpenMRS trademarks if that use of the trademark is nominative. The “nominative use” (or “nominative fair use”) defense to trademark infringement is a legal doctrine that authorizes everyone (even commercial companies) to use another person’s trademark as long as three requirements are met:

  1. The product or service in question must be one not readily identifiable without use of the trademark (for example, it is not easy to identify Apple iPhone software without using the trademark “iPhone”); and
  2. Only so much of the mark or marks may be used as is reasonably necessary to identify the product or service; and
  3. The organization using the mark must do nothing that would, in conjunction with the mark, suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder.

The trademark nominative fair use defense is intended to encourage people to refer to trademarked goods and services by using the trademark itself. This trademark defense has nothing to do with copyright fair use and should not be confused with those rules.

What is the “confusing similarity” or “likelihood of confusion” test?

Some uses of another person’s trademark are nominative fair use, but some uses are simply infringing. Indeed, if a trademark is used in such a way that the relevant consuming public will likely be confused or mistaken about the source of a product or service sold or provided using the mark in question, then likelihood of confusion exists and the mark has been infringed.

Note that, even if there is no likelihood of confusion, you may still be liable for using another company’s trademark if you are blurring or tarnishing their mark under United States federal and/or state dilution laws, or other laws around the world.

To avoid infringing OpenMRS marks, you should verify that your use of our marks is nominative and that you are not likely to confuse software consumers that your software is the same as OpenMRS software or is endorsed by OpenMRS. This policy is already summarized in section 2.3 of the Mozilla Public License (MPL 2.0), and so it is a condition for your use of OpenMRS software and associated documentation:

This License does not grant any rights in the trademarks, service marks, or logos of any Contributor (except as may be necessary to comply with the notice requirements in Section 3.4).

Specific Guidelines

The following Specific Guidelines apply to the “OpenMRS” word trademark and the OpenMRS graphic logo, as well as the trademarks and graphic logos for typical “OpenMRS Foo” and “Foo” software produced by OpenMRS projects or sub-projects. You may refer to our list of current OpenMRS marks at

Examples of permitted nominative fair use

  • Free copies of OpenMRS Foo software under the MPL 2.0 license and support services for Foo are available at my own company website.
  • Derivative works of OpenMRS Foo software and support services for those derivative works are available under my own trademarks at my website. Please remember that, under trademark law, you may not apply trademarks to your derivative works of Foo software that are confusingly similar to “Foo” or “OpenMRS Foo” or any of our graphic logos.
  • Foo software is faster (or slower) than Myco software.
  • I recommend (or don’t recommend) Foo software for your business.
  • This is the graphic logo for OpenMRS Foo software:

Using OpenMRS trademarks in book and article titles

You may write about OpenMRS Foo software, and use our trademarks in book or article titles. You needn’t ask us for permission to refer to Foo, as in “Foo for Dummies”, or “Explaining Foo”, or “Foo Simplified”, or “O’Reilly Guide to Foo”, or even “Avoiding Foo”.

We prefer that you refer to “OpenMRS Foo” rather than simply “Foo” in the title if it fits, and we request that you clearly identify that “OpenMRS”, “OpenMRS Foo”, and “Foo” are trademarks of OpenMRS Inc. wherever you normally acknowledge important trademarks in your book or article.

Using the OpenMRS graphic logo to identify OpenMRS and link to

The OpenMRS graphic logo is a special trademark to the OpenMRS community and we intend to prevent its use in association with other companies’ software or related services.

You needn’t ask us for permission to use the OpenMRS graphic logo (the version published by us at on your own website solely as a hyperlink to, or in other materials, such as presentations and slides, solely as a means to refer to OpenMRS or the OpenMRS community itself.

All other uses of the OpenMRS graphic logo must be approved in writing by OpenMRS Inc.

Using the OpenMRS Foo or similar graphic logos

Graphic logos are contributed to OpenMRS by artists as a way of creating a symbol with which the OpenMRS project software can be identified. Those graphic logos are special to the OpenMRS projects that mark their software with those logos.

You needn’t ask us for permission to use OpenMRS’s graphics logos (the versions published at on your own website solely as a hyperlink to the specific OpenMRS project or to All other uses of OpenMRS Foo (and similar) graphic logos must be approved in writing by OpenMRS Inc.

If you have any questions or concerns about the use of or changes to any OpenMRS graphic trademark, email us at

Using OpenMRS trademarks on merchandise

We will typically grant written permission to apply OpenMRS trademarks (including graphic logos) for merchandise that promotes OpenMRS, its software, community, or its worldwide mission to promote public health.

Permission to apply OpenMRS trademarks will ordinarily be denied for merchandise that disparages OpenMRS software or projects or that would serve to detract from the value of OpenMRS, its software, community,or its brands.

Using OpenMRS trademarks in domain names

You may not use OpenMRS trademarks such as “OpenMRS” or “OpenMRSFoo” or “Foo” in your own domain names if that use would be likely to confuse a relevant consumer about the source of software or services provided through your website. You should apply the “likelihood of confusion” test described above, and please realize that the use of OpenMRS trademarks in your domain names is generally not “nominative fair use.”

Using OpenMRS trademarks in relation to conferences and events

Certain OpenMRS trademarks may be reserved exclusively for official OpenMRS activities. For example, “OpenMRS World Summit” may be used as our exclusive trademark for our regular OpenMRS conferences, and the OpenMRS graphic is intended for OpenMRS use at events in which we participate.

Individual OpenMRS projects (such as “OpenMRS Foo”) may create their own conferences and events, or join with other organizations or companies to hold joint conferences or events.

The following uses of OpenMRS trademarks are probably infringing:

  • Confusingly similar software product names.
  • Software service offerings that are for anything other than official OpenMRS-distributed software.
  • Company names that may be associated in customer’s minds with OpenMRS or its trademarked project software.

Important Notes

Nothing in this OpenMRS Trademark Policy shall be interpreted to allow any third party to claim any association with OpenMRS Inc. or any of its projects or to imply any approval or support by OpenMRS Inc. for any third party products or services.

OpenMRS is a registered trademark and the OpenMRS graphic logo is a trademark owned by OpenMRS Inc.

This text of this policy was adapted from the Trademark Policy of the Apache Software Foundation at Apache Software Foundation Trademark Policy.