i have an unreleased product i believe to be of great commercial value due to its algorithms. in the future, i intend to do four things in this order:
- release the source of the software to customers without conveying any freedoms.
- release the source of the software publicly without conveying any freedoms.
- relicense the software so that other people's derivative works may be published without restriction.
- relicense the software so that other people's derivative works may be sold without restriction.
the software is a video game and the valuable algorithms involve original work on AI. i looked over patent and trade secret law and concluded that patenting the algorithms would only stifle quality derivative works in patent-relevant jurisdictions, while doing nothing against ripoffs like the many Minecraft competitors in existence. (however, it seems that Minecraft has not lost many sales to any game but Terraria.)
there are historical cases of these four liberations on this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_commercial_video_games_with_available_source_code. i looked through these briefly and concluded that none of these are games that were selling well at the time they were open-sourced and open-licensed, so they do not answer the question "how much will open-sourcing hurt the height of sales for a product?".