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1 Context

Suppose BusinessCorp finds SoftwareProductA online. SoftwareProductA is made under a BSD License. Now BusinessCorp wants to monetize SofwareProductA, so it makes non-trivial adjustments to SoftwareProductA to create SoftwareProductB. The way that BusinessCorp wants to make money with SoftwareProductB is to distribute it as a free and open source product, but to use it as a platform for other monetary apps (for example, SoftwareProductB might be something like the Android OS, with the Android App store being the indirect monetization strategy).

2 Problem

Even though BusinessCorp wants to distribute SoftwareProductB as a free and open-source product, it wants to protect itself from competitors. For example, it wants to prevent other companies from taking SoftwareProductB, incrementally changing it into SoftwareProductC, and then monetizing it either indirectly as a platform or directly through licensing fees.

3 Question

What license can BusinessCorp use to best protect SoftwareProductB from competitors in this way? Is there a license which allows only BusinessCorp to monetize SoftwareProductB (either indirectly as a platform or directly through licensing fees) and its derivatives, but to still keep it open-source for hobbyists to tinker with? And how does the original BSD license that SoftwareProductA was written under affect all of this?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about FLOSS. – MadHatter Apr 9 '17 at 6:46
4

Even though BusinessCorp wants to distribute SoftwareProductB as a free and open-source product, it wants to protect itself from competitors. For example, it wants to prevent other companies from taking SoftwareProductB, incrementally changing it into SoftwareProductC, and then monetizing it either indirectly as a platform or directly through licensing fees.

This is simply a contradiction. Free and open source and not allowing certain users or use cases doesn't mix at all.

Here's a somewhat similar question with the same answer: Which OpenSource License for a proprietary software?

  • Then how did i.e. Google Android protect itself from competitors? – George Apr 5 '17 at 13:35
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    @George they use trademarks to protect the Android mark and commercial contracts. – Philippe Ombredanne Apr 5 '17 at 15:37
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    The Android Open Source Project can be used by anybody, including Google competitors. Check out the AOSP faq, especially the parts about Android compatibility: source.android.com/source/faqs.html. In addition to the already mentioned trademark, you'll need commerically licenced software to access Google Play, and this software is not a part of AOSP. – Mans Gunnarsson Apr 5 '17 at 19:03
  • Here someone claims that you can do something like I suggested in my original post. Is this wrong? – George Apr 6 '17 at 13:01
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    No idea. It's not open source and open source is what this site is about. – Mans Gunnarsson Apr 8 '17 at 5:12

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