A dual license system for code libraries?

Mirko Boehm - FSFE mirko at fsfe.org
Tue Feb 28 11:20:03 UTC 2017


> On 28 Feb 2017, at 10:11, Agner Fog <agner at agner.org> wrote:
> Mirko Boehm wrote:
>> I cannot speak for FSFE, but I think the setup can be made simpler: Anybody can donate to FSFE. Just ask them to provide proof of the donation, and then you give them a license. This way you don’t need any kind of organisation, and no arrangement for handling money.
> Yes, but the FSF or FSFE still has to endorse such a scheme because the donors will ask all kind of questions about license conditions, pro forma invoices, and other technicalities.

FSFE hands out donation receipts. You can say “I will issue a proprietary license if you deliver a donation receipt from FSFE”. The donation receipt is sufficient for the accounting of the donor. That is what I meant when I tried to explain to use a setup that does not connect the donation to the license. The details are of course up to you.

> A scheme with selling proprietary license requires a unification of the copyright. Who should own the copyright, me, FSF, or all contributors? I would prefer to avoid such problems by making donation voluntary.

If you issue the proprietary licenses, *you* need to have permission to do so. Either the contributors assign that right to you (by granting you a license, for example) or somebody else (FSF(E)) can be the copyright fiduciary but would still have to grant you that right. The author remains the copyright owner, in most cases.

> Is it common to assign the copyright to FSF, even when FSF has nothing to do with the project? I can see the advantage of unifying the copyright, but also administrative burdens on FSF, and potentials for abuse.

I would not think this makes sense in such a scenario. If FSF denies you the right to hand out proprietary licenses, then what?


Mirko Boehm | mirko at kde.org | KDE e.V.
FSFE Fellow, FSFE Team Germany
Qt Certified Specialist
Request a meeting: https://doodle.com/mirkoboehm

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