Share-revenues as an alternative to Non-commercial
dc at sover.net
Tue May 3 20:47:41 EDT 2005
> Greg London said:
> What you're proposing sounds like a sort of
> compulsory license, except that it's voluntary,
Yes, the idea was to grant commercial rights to everyone up front, at least
nominally. The idea is you use this as an alternative to an open source
license like the GPL, because you want help programming (derivative works).
You also have to figure out how to share any revenue you recover with
developers who help you, but that is more complicated, as you note.
Though the "default price" might be prohibitive for most businesses, perhaps
it would be reasonable for very small businesses and individuals. Ideally
the Share-revenues provision could function voluntarily for small-scale
commercial use, while effectively precluding larger-scale exploitation
without a contract.
> This would widen the rights that can be purchased
> up front to any commercial use, any derivative.
Yes, though the price might vary by use. The nature of the derivative works
is not restricted.
> But since it always sends a percentage back to the
> first author, the number of downstream generations
> will likely be limited to one. if you open it up to
> anyone who contributes, the finite resource of the
> commercial revenue becomes a commons, and tragedy
> soon ensues as hangers on and others want to derive
> your work simply to ride the gravy train. which means
> the only people you'll want to contribute to your
> work are poeple who pay you, meaning the only people
> you need to interact with are the people pay you,
> meaning people who don't pay you are people you'll
> want to restrict with CC-BY-NC-ND so they don't try
> to move into your intellectual common.
That's one way it could go wrong, for sure. But back up to the bit about the
number of downstream generations being one. Isn't that pretty typical of
successful open source projects? How many downstream generations does Linux
have? Isn't Torvalds still in charge, so to speak, at least of the main
fork? A de facto authority (constrained by reputation and consent, not law)
seems to be a common theme of many successful projects. Sometimes (as with
Apache) the authority is not an individual but a committee; and it's always
distributed over an advisory team in practice. So, couldn't revenue capture
(and redistribution to contributing developers) be handled by such a project
authority? Not by the license terms, and not by the terms of revenue sharing
contracts with the customers. By judgement calls made by the copyright
owner(s) after the revenue comes in, essentially. (Not too different than
the way any business employing developers makes decisions about rewarding
And for non-commercial use, the number of downstream generations is still
> CC-BY-NC-ND + contract provision for royalties
> is all you need, and I don't think you need a
> new license to do that.
Except that ND denies open source developers permission to work on the
project, and NC removes any commercial incentive for them to do so. The idea
was all about providing more incentives for open source developers, not
removing them. In particular it's about finding a way to funnel the
commercial rewards of open source development back to the developers. Not
just to the original developer (or why use open source at all)?
"CC-BY-NC-ND + contract provision for royalties" sounds very much like the
closed source method of software development, even if the source code is
readable. A form of contract programming? I was hoping for something that
was a subtle shift to conventional open source development that would bring
in the commercial motivation without spoiling the ambiance. (If anything
involving money can ever be non-corrupting, which I seriously doubt.)
Thanks very much for your thoughtful response Greg -- it's given me a lot to
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