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I am trying to license some code such that people can make modified works from it and profit from that, but they can't just take my work verbatim and profit from it. Right now I'm really leaning towards the Artistic License 2.0; however, I can't tell if people who make a Modified Version are permitted to charge a licensing fee or not.

Section 6 says:

You may Distribute a Modified Version in Compiled form without the Source, provided that you comply with Section 4 with respect to the Source of the Modified Version.

And Section 4 says:

You may Distribute your Modified Version as Source (either gratis or for a Distributor Fee, and with or without a Compiled form of the Modified Version)...[italics added]

I think this ambiguity was addressed in-depth in this answer, and it looks to me like if you interpreted the license the way Allison Randal did, where you just apply any of the three conditions of Section 4, you would not be stopped from charging a license fee for your Modified Version (however I still agree that it is rather ambiguous).

First, is Randal's interpretation something that would legally hold? If so, why? I could counter-argue that the part I italicized in the main paragraph of Section 4 prohibits anyone from charging a licensing fee on Modified Versions, if Section 6 really says that the compiled form of Modified Versions is to be treated exactly as the source form of Modified Versions.

Second, am I right that Randal's interpretation (just using any of the three conditions) actually allows that someone could charge a licensing fee for a compiled form of their Modified Version?

Third, is there a (serious) license out there that better (see: less ambiguously) describes what I am trying to achieve?

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I am trying to license some code such that people can make modified works from it and profit from that, but they can't just take my work verbatim and profit from it. Right now I'm really leaning towards the Artistic License 2.0; however, I can't tell if people who make a Modified Version are permitted to charge a licensing fee or not.

The Artistic License appears to disallow the charging of license fees, as in a monetary compensation for receiving the rights granted by the license, but it does not disallow other forms of monetary compensation. The only real effect of this is that you have to be careful when you ask someone to pay you and how you bill it.

For example, it could be problematic to first provide the code and then ask for payment when the user wants to make changes to or redistribute the code they received earlier. But it would be fine to offer the code through a paywall.

And that applies to the Standard Version, Modified Version as well as aggregated works.


To address your desire that others cannot profit from your verbatim work, to my knowledge there are no open-source licenses that allow unchanged redistribution only if you don't make a profit out of it. It is also very hard to impossible to establish when someone is making a profit versus just covering their costs.

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