I am creating a software that I want to release under a proprietary license with some flexibility for the customer and I need your help to find a license that fits my requirements since I am not sure all the common and popular licenses would fit like LGPL, CC, MIT, etc.

To explain the context, the software would be sold with a perpetual license for the current version (+ one year of support and fix updates). After that year the customer can continue to use the software freely, but if he wants to get the new features he would then need to buy a new license for another year. This is somewhat close to the JetBrains Intellij IDEA license.

What the license must ALLOW :

  • The use of the software or a modified version of it (modifications made by the customer for the customer himself)
  • The modification of the software (eg: to allow customer to add its own features)

What the license must DISALLOW :

  • The distribution of the software (modified or not)
  • The selling of the software (modified or not)
  • The selling of a service build on top of the software (modified or not)

This license would reassure the customer about using and improving the software with or without me, as if it was it's own software but only for him.

  • 1
    You need to talk to a lawyer, not ask random people on the Internet. Apr 3 '17 at 6:52
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    There is a contradiction in your question that is apparent in the title: proprietary is, by definition, the opposite of open source.
    – Zimm i48
    Apr 3 '17 at 12:39
  • 2
    No that is not what open source means. You are making a very common confusion. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software and the answer of @MansGunnarsson.
    – Zimm i48
    Apr 3 '17 at 17:31
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    That's the OSI not the FSF (FSF defined the term "free software") and they are the one who coined the term. You can use the alternative term "shared source" or "source-available". In any case, Open Source SE (this site) is specifically about FOSS, not about "shared source" / "source available" software.
    – Zimm i48
    Apr 3 '17 at 17:40
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because we don't do license recommendations for non-FLOSS projects. Apr 4 '17 at 12:04

All open source licenses allow the things you want to allow. I can't think of one that disallows the things you want to disallow. Allowing re-distribution (or selling) of the modified or un-modified software or something built on top of it is key to the whole idea of open source. While you can probably license your software to your customer under virtually any terms you like, it won't be open source.

The Open Source Initiative has formulated a number of criteria for open source licenses: https://opensource.org/osd-annotated

Most commonly used open source licenses are OSI approved which means that they conform with the definition. See https://opensource.org/licenses

  • While not necessarily the one definition to rule them all: This makes me cringe since OSI invented the term "open source".
    – Zimm i48
    Apr 3 '17 at 12:38
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    Well, I guess I agree. I think I wanted to cover that there is software generally considered open source that is licensed under a non approved license. I just removed the first part. Apr 3 '17 at 15:29

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