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PyPI PyPI PyPI reuse compliant standard-readme compliant PyPI

reuse is a tool for compliance with the REUSE Initiative recommendations.


Copyright and licensing is difficult, especially when reusing software from different projects that are released under various different licenses. The REUSE Initiative was started by the FSFE to provide a set of recommendations to make licensing your free software projects easier. Not only do these recommendations make it easier for you to declare the licenses under which your works are released, but they also make it easier for a computer to understand how your project is licensed.

As a short summary, the recommendations are threefold:

  1. Provide the exact text of each license used, verbatim.

  2. Include a copyright notice and license in (or about) each file.

  3. Provide an inventory for included software.

You are recommended to read the recommendations in full for more details.

This tool exists to facilitate the developer in complying to the above recommendations. It will serve as a linter for compliance, and as a compiler for generating the bill of materials.

There are other tools, such as FOSSology, that have a lot more features and functionality surrounding the analysis and inspection of copyright and licenses in software projects. reuse, on the other hand, is solely designed to be a simple tool to assist in compliance with the REUSE Initiative recommendations.


To install reuse, make sure that you have Python >=3.5 and Pip installed, then run the following command::

pip3 install --user fsfe-reuse


To check your project for REUSE compliance, use reuse lint:

~/Projects/curl$ reuse lint

All the listed files have no licence information associated with them.

To generate a bill of materials, use reuse compile:

~/Projects/curll$ reuse compile
SPDXVersion: SPDX-2.1
DataLicense: CC0-1.0
DocumentName: curl
Creator: Person: Anonymous ()
Creator: Organization: Anonymous ()
Creator: Tool: reuse-0.0.4
Created: 2017-11-15T11:42:28Z
CreatorComment: <text>This document was created automatically using available reuse information consistent with the REUSE Initiative.</text>

Ideally, you would distribute this bill of materials together with the tarfile distribution of your project.

Make sure that, when outputting to a file, that this file ends in the .spdx extension. If you do not do this, the tool will attempt to include the file itself into the bill of materials, which obviously will not work.


  • Carmen Bianca Bakker - carmenbianca at fsfe dot org

  • Jonas Öberg - jonas at fsfe dot org


Any pull requests or suggestions are welcome at or via e-mail to one of the maintainers. General inquiries can be sent to

Starting local development is very simple, just execute the following commands:

git clone
cd reuse/
# We need pipenv to manage our virtualenv
pip3 install --user pipenv
# At this point, make sure that ~/.local/bin is in PATH
make develop

You need to run make develop at least once to set up the virtualenv.

Next, run make help to see the available interactions.


Copyright © 2017 Free Software Foundation Europe e.V.

Licensed under the GNU General Public License version 3 or later.