We have a few library plugins that we want to open source on GitHub, but we want to preserve the author credit for us when our libraries are used by others.

I see a lot of different open source licenses like Apache 2.0, MIT, GPL etc. What should be the best to use in my case? I am not that good with all this TL;DR stuff.

My primary goal is we preserve author credit for source and versioning both. In addition, if someone wants to use this in commercial products they pay us a little fee.

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    "In addition, if someone wants to use this in commercial products they pay us a little fee." no free-software or open-source license will satisfy this requirement, because discriminating commercial versus non-commercial use is incompatible with Freedom 0 of the FSF's four freedoms and requirement #6 of the OSI's Open Source Definition.
    – apsillers
    Feb 14, 2017 at 17:22
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    To answer the main substance of your question, virtually every open/free license requires preservation of the author's name in the form of a copyright notice. Is that sufficient for you?
    – apsillers
    Feb 14, 2017 at 17:25
  • You need to better define "preserve the author credit". Many licenses require a NOTICE file (which could have your name) but it can get buried in the sources. Also, requiring a fee for commercial use is complicated, and in most cases wouldn't (shouldn't) be called "open source", see opensource.org/osd-annotated "6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor". Feb 17, 2017 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


Essentially all open source licenses cover your author credit requirement. None will allow restrictions for a certain use case.

You'll either have to dual-license your software by releasing it under both, say, the MIT license (which is widely used and very simple) and a commercial license as an alternative or look beyond open source. As you can't prevent commercial users from simply using the MIT version you'd have to add something of value to the commercial version, such as premium support.

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    Some open source licenses do not have notice requirements. See the WTFPL. wtfpl.net/about
    – Daniel
    Feb 16, 2017 at 17:30
  • hi thanks for the info, so if i go dual license with MIT like license i can still sell for commercial usage right? i have seen people doing this but was not sure if the license terms would be right.
    – Alok
    Feb 18, 2017 at 16:12
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    Yes. Releasing your software as MIT licensed doesn't prevent you from also releasing it under whatever terms you want to. Feb 18, 2017 at 20:11
  • What about dual-licencing with GPL? It forbids commercial usage, so any proprietary software using it must use the alternative, fee-paying license. Would it be viable?
    – Alejandro
    Mar 1, 2017 at 16:08
  • 1
    GPL does not in any way forbid commercial usage. GPL software is used extensively in commercial products. Mar 2, 2017 at 8:33

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