There are quite a few "which license do I use to forbid commercial use" questions on this exchange, all of which point to Can I license my project with an open-source license but disallow commercial use?, but I haven't found satisfying answers to my specific case.

I've developed a project whose source is available on Github - from what I read, I may not call it open-source as that implies more than the source merely being public - and which is targeted at being uploaded into a microcontroller. This means that to get to a commercial product, there is still work to be done, i.e creating the physical device around the microcontroller.

It is currently unlicensed, so people can't legally use it, however I'm considering licensing it as I would like to make it possible for people to use it for their personal use. That is to say, to build the device themselves, and use it for themselves. I would like to forbid the code being put in devices that will later be sold.

Well, to be fair, I don't want to forbid "commercial use", I just want to keep the right to forbid people from using it if I deem their behavior disrespectful to the project, i.e selling the devices at a high price and justifying it by the amount of software features it has, with no indication whatsoever that they were not the one to do the development work. i.e I want people to need my authorization to use it so that I can give it under some conditions.

So, releasing it under a copyleft license does no good whatsoever, because we're not talking about selling a software product based on that project, but a hardware product "based" on that project. As far as I know, they could just use the code if it were licensed under GPL, for instance. What license should I use then ?

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  • 7
    I’m voting to close this question because it's asking for a recommendation of an license which is not an open source license as defined by this site. I would recommend talking to a lawyer. 2 days ago
  • 2
    Julien, you should go and find a lawyer who drafts a license for you. What you are asking (e.g. right to arbitrarily refuse a license) is nothing that any OSS license would support. And therefore it is nothing that this group of contributors here would help with. 2 days ago