Software licensing

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Karl Core, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. Karl Core

    Karl Core Guest

    I built an open source CMS for bands to use a while back and just released
    version 1.0.
    It isn't the best thing in the world, by far, and was my first venture at a
    CMS at all, but it has some great features for bands.

    Someone just contacted me to say he wanted to modify it and sell it. Anyone
    have any experience with this? I was thinking of asking for a lump sum up
    front and a small % of each sale (which would be hard to prove).

    TIA for any advice


    --
    -Karl Core
    Please Support "Project Boneyard":
    http://www.insurgence.net/info.aspx?action=band&item=boneyard
    Karl Core, Jan 25, 2005
    #1
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  2. Karl Core wrote:
    > I built an open source CMS for bands to use a while back and just released
    > version 1.0.
    > It isn't the best thing in the world, by far, and was my first venture at a
    > CMS at all, but it has some great features for bands.
    >
    > Someone just contacted me to say he wanted to modify it and sell it. Anyone
    > have any experience with this? I was thinking of asking for a lump sum up
    > front and a small % of each sale (which would be hard to prove).
    >
    > TIA for any advice


    depends on what license model you are going to release it. If you have
    it under the GNU/GPL then they might sell it and the source has to
    remain open source.
    GNU/GPL understands 'free' in the sense of 'freedom' but not price.
    Hence someone can sell their (changed) version at a price, but they must
    ensure that the source code is publicly available for anybody else (with
    added information who has changed the source and when).
    For the GNU/GPL see:
    http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html

    If you are going to sell it on a per copy license base, then I am
    afraid, you will have to drop the OS part of your CMS. Then it's under
    copyright protection and you will be the sole owner of the CMS, having
    the right to sell it at your own conditions.


    HTH
    bernhard

    --
    www.daszeichen.ch
    remove nixspam to reply
    Bernhard Sturm, Jan 25, 2005
    #2
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  3. Karl Core wrote:
    > I built an open source CMS for bands to use a while back and just released
    > version 1.0.
    >
    > Someone just contacted me to say he wanted to modify it and sell it. Anyone
    > have any experience with this? I was thinking of asking for a lump sum up
    > front and a small % of each sale (which would be hard to prove).


    If it's really under an open source license as defined by the OSI [1],
    then you can't legally require him to give you a dime for redistributing
    it under your license's terms. You can charge him for initially getting
    your software, but if it's already been released, that will be hard to
    do; he could legally get it for free from anyone who already has a copy.

    You could ask for him to be nice and give you some money, of course, but
    there's nothing forcing him to.

    [1] <URL:http://opensource.org/docs/definition.php>
    Leif K-Brooks, Jan 25, 2005
    #3
  4. Karl Core

    Jim Higson Guest

    Bernhard Sturm wrote:

    > Karl Core wrote:
    >> I built an open source CMS for bands to use a while back and just
    >> released version 1.0.
    >> It isn't the best thing in the world, by far, and was my first venture at
    >> a CMS at all, but it has some great features for bands.
    >>
    >> Someone just contacted me to say he wanted to modify it and sell it.
    >> Anyone have any experience with this? I was thinking of asking for a lump
    >> sum up front and a small % of each sale (which would be hard to prove).
    >>
    >> TIA for any advice

    >
    > depends on what license model you are going to release it. If you have
    > it under the GNU/GPL then they might sell it and the source has to
    > remain open source.
    > GNU/GPL understands 'free' in the sense of 'freedom' but not price.
    > Hence someone can sell their (changed) version at a price, but they must
    > ensure that the source code is publicly available for anybody else (with
    > added information who has changed the source and when).
    > For the GNU/GPL see:
    > http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html


    There is an exception, that the original creator may also licence their
    software to someone else under a licence other than the GPL. In this case
    the OP could charge for version of the code under some other licence, where
    the buyer would be allowed to make derivatives without releasing
    modifications to the code.

    It also depends what the OP means by trying to sell it - are they actually
    selling server software, or charging to set up websites which use it? Of
    course, the later is perfectly consistant with open source licencing.

    You could also charge the person wanting to sell the software for you to add
    features, if you're still interested in working on the project. If he's
    setting up web services it'd help him to have the developer of the CMS on
    his side.

    If you allow a non-free branch, it'll not gain from user participation in
    making it better, and so it could end up being worse than the freer,
    original program. Of course, if it has a small userbase, a free software
    project won't have many outside contributors anyway so this might not
    matter.
    Jim Higson, Jan 26, 2005
    #4
  5. Karl Core

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Tue, 25 Jan 2005 15:34:29 -0500, Leif K-Brooks
    <> wrote:

    >If it's really under an open source license as defined by the OSI [1],
    >then you can't legally require him to give you a dime for redistributing
    >it under your license's terms.


    Actually you can (but he might be a fool to agree to it). His licence
    as distributor to the licensee (users) of the program doesn't do this,
    but that makes no requirements on _your_ licence to _him_.

    Suppose that "Arthur the distributor" reckons there's a business in
    offering an open-sourced CMS for free, with hourly-charged
    customisation time being sold to some of the users that use it and
    think that they need it. You, as the developer, want to make money
    from your labours. It's entirely possible that you strike a deal with
    Arthur so that he pays you a few groats for every copy distributed by
    him (i.e. he loses money on every one) and he makes revenue from
    selling the services that he provides to cover this. This is more
    "direct" than taking a slice of Arthur's revenue, as "you're getting
    paid for your work" and "Arthur is getting paid for his work".

    The risks here are that Arthur pays for one download and may never
    distribute another copy (everyone downloads from his mate Terry, who
    is of course free to offer them. Terry might have been that only
    downloader). You lose out.

    Another risk is that your product is so wonderful that everyone
    downloads and uses it, but it's so easy to customise that no-one ever
    needs Arthur's customisation skills Arthur loses out.

    --
    Smert' spamionam
    Andy Dingley, Jan 26, 2005
    #5
  6. Karl Core

    Richard Guest

    On Tue, 25 Jan 2005 13:34:27 -0500 Karl Core wrote:

    > I built an open source CMS for bands to use a while back and just
    > released
    > version 1.0.
    > It isn't the best thing in the world, by far, and was my first venture
    > at a
    > CMS at all, but it has some great features for bands.


    > Someone just contacted me to say he wanted to modify it and sell it.
    > Anyone
    > have any experience with this? I was thinking of asking for a lump sum
    > up
    > front and a small % of each sale (which would be hard to prove).


    > TIA for any advice


    Sure thing dude. I'll sell you a copy for $100 and you can give me 10% of
    your sales.
    If he sells your work, even with slight modifications, as his work, then you
    can slap him with copyright infringement.
    So be sure to copyright the software before you give it to him.
    It has to be properly registered to lay claims on infringement.
    Richard, Jan 26, 2005
    #6
  7. Andy Dingley wrote:
    > On Tue, 25 Jan 2005 15:34:29 -0500, Leif K-Brooks
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>If it's really under an open source license as defined by the OSI [1],
    >>then you can't legally require him to give you a dime for redistributing
    >>it under your license's terms.

    >
    >
    > Actually you can (but he might be a fool to agree to it). His licence
    > as distributor to the licensee (users) of the program doesn't do this,
    > but that makes no requirements on _your_ licence to _him_.


    Right, except that Karl says that he's already let the cat out of the
    bag by releasing his product under an open-source. At that point, anyone
    can distribute it with or without charge to anyone else under the
    terms of the same license.
    Leif K-Brooks, Jan 26, 2005
    #7
  8. Karl Core

    Toby Inkster Guest

    Karl Core wrote:

    > I built an open source CMS for bands to use a while back and just released
    > version 1.0.


    If you wrote the entire thing yourself, without using any code from other
    sources, then you're free to issue it to this buyer under a different
    licence.

    If you, say, included code from an existing GPL (or similar licence)
    project, or another contributor sent you some code for inclusion under the
    assumption that the project was GPL'ed (or protected by a similar
    licence), then you wouldn't be able to relicence it -- you could sell a
    copy to this guy, but you'd have to do so under the terms of the GPL (or
    whatever licence you were using).

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact
    Toby Inkster, Jan 26, 2005
    #8
  9. Jim Higson wrote:
    >
    > There is an exception, that the original creator may also licence their
    > software to someone else under a licence other than the GPL. In this case
    > the OP could charge for version of the code under some other licence, where
    > the buyer would be allowed to make derivatives without releasing
    > modifications to the code.


    that's true, but I reckon that this the GNU/GPL community is generally
    not amused about such business models. Is this correct?


    --
    www.daszeichen.ch
    remove nixspam to reply


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    Bernhard Sturm, Jan 26, 2005
    #9
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