-2

I want to license a project that allows anyone to license it under AGPL-3.0, but with the option to license it under Apache-2.0 for non-commercial use only. Are there any hidden pitfalls I may have missed here?

Will I need a CLA to allow upstream contributions to be licensed under both? I am trying to avoid requiring copyright assignment from contributors. If I do have a CLA, I would prefer it to be something simple along the lines of "Yes, you can license this under either AGPL3.0, or Apache-2.0 for non-commercial use."

Does this idea make sense? If not, is there an alternative licensing that would solve my woes? The network-use requirements of the AGPL are essential.

4

Are there any hidden pitfalls I may have missed here?

First, let us be clear that you want a choice of the AGPL or your own, proprietary license, and not the Apache 2.0 license. Saying "Apache 2.0 for non-commercial use only" is a bit like giving someone a bike and saying, "You have free license to take and ride this bike anywhere in the world you like," and then immediately saying, "By the way, that permission to ride that bike anywhere only holds if you stay on my property; you can't take it away from my house." The Apache 2.0 license allows commercial reuse, so you want to make important modifications to it that make a fundamentally different license.

You may license your work under whatever terms you like, but please don't call them by a name that doesn't apply -- especially a name trademarked by the Apache Foundation. Free and open source licenses categorically never disallow commercial use, so you will need to look elsewhere (or perhaps hiring a drafting lawyer) to settle on the exact text of your legal terms.

Will I need a CLA to allow upstream contributions to be licensed under both?

If you plan to take outside contributions, you should definitely get your contributors to agree to a CLA, especially if you plan to use a non-FLOSS proprietary license option. You could require that contributors license their contributions under those same two licenses, or you could require that contributors license their contributions under a very permissive license to you only, so that you may use their contributions under any different terms in the future. For example, this sample CLA simply grants broad rights to the project without mentioning a specific license.

1
  • My main aim was requiring those who use it commercially to provide source, without putting the same requirements who use it for non-commercial use. Do you think this aim is feasible in a legal sense? I did look for software licenses that disallow commercial use (with the aim to dual license AGPL/$noncommercial), but I couldn't find any such license, probably because it would longer count as a free software license.
    – user22745
    Apr 21 at 15:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.