I have some code that I would like others to be able to use, share, build on it, as long as they don't profit from it.

I came across the commons clause license which seems nice but I don't know if that's compatible with the idea of ME selling a service that derives directly from this code.

Also, I would like other commercial entities to be able to use this code for profit, if and only if they get a license to do so from me. Would this be compatible with commons clause?

  • 1
    The short answer is you aren't beholden to your own license grant so you may do as you like irrespective of what you do or don't give other people license to do. BUT beware that others might build on your code, and you would be beholden to their license grant if you chose to use their code.
    – apsillers
    Oct 20, 2022 at 1:27
  • Quite similar to So the GPL doesn't restrict the creator of the software in any way? which is GPL in name but fairly general in practice
    – apsillers
    Oct 20, 2022 at 1:29
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    I’m voting to close this question because the Commons Clause License is not a Free and Open Source Licence, so because this question doesn't mention any actually FLOSS license, this question is off-topic. Oct 22, 2022 at 2:07
  • What are you talking about? The Commons Clause IS (not a license but) an add-on to Open Source licenses. There's literally ZERO examples in the wild of Commons Clause being used in combination with any other license which is not Open Source, so it's definitely on-topic. If you want to discuss whether or not the use of Commons Clause goes on or against (FL)OSS, that belongs to a different question. Actually, that one thing is off-topic from this question, lol. Oct 23, 2022 at 21:52
  • Also: opensource.stackexchange.com/search?q=Commons+Clause, yeah sure, man, def. off-topic from this site, lmao. Oct 23, 2022 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


By default, only the holder of the copyright in a piece of software has any rights to make copies, changes or to incorporate it in something larger (which is seen as making a change). Copyright licenses are a mechanism to allow others to do such things as well, when they follow the requirements of the license.

This also means that if you are the sole rightsholder, then you are not bound to any license. As the rightsholder, you also have the right to offer different license terms to different users.

So, as long as you did not accept any contributions from others under a license with the commons clause, you can use your code commercially yourself and you can offer commercial licenses alongside your commons clause license.


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