I need to develop free software for a company. The company will reward me with 8% of the profits. I have to give the source code to the company so that they can modify it if necessary. Is there a license that protects me in case they reuse my source code to build a new application and I no longer get 8%? Thanks

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    I am not sure your concern can be covered by a copyright license. There certainly isn't an open-source license that covers monetary compensation. I would advise you to settle this in a contract between you and the company and to have that looked over by a lawyer if you wish. Feb 18, 2020 at 11:34
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    I think that open source does not mean free software... maybe there exists a license that can help me softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/21907/…
    – dbusc
    Feb 18, 2020 at 12:21
  • Open source does indeed not preclude getting money in return for providing the software. But your concern for receiving a percentage of profits goes beyond what you can arrange with a copyright license, open-source or not. Feb 18, 2020 at 14:17
  • The question is problematic because you fail to clearly distinguish the 4 relevant parties: A, yourself. B, the company which pays you (A) 8%. C, end users and D, users which use their free software rights to redistribute the source. You know see that the problem is that you get 8% of the money that B makes of user groups C and D, but users in groups C and D can also get the software for free from other users in D instead of getting it from B. The director of B can in fact sell the software to himself and then give it away from free. Microsoft pulled this trick with Mosaic, now known as IE.
    – MSalters
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:20
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    @dbusc Open Source software is almost always Free Software and vica versa. It is hard to find a licence that is one and not the other (according to definition). However the free-software-foundation, and the open-source-institute do not always agree. Feb 18, 2020 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


Is there a license that protects me in case they reuse my source code to build a new application and I no longer get 8%?

By accepted definition on https://opensource.org/licenses such a license won't be open source (or free software, e.g. GPLv3+ software).

I am not a lawyer. You need to pay one.

Read a paper on Simple Economics of open source (one of the authors had a Nobel prize in economics)


You are writing the software under contract with the company, so the rights aren't yours to begin with...

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    Wrong. It depends on the terms, and on the local laws.
    – o0'.
    Jun 7, 2020 at 7:54
  • I am paid to write GPLv3+ software. Indirectly by the European taxpayer (thru H2020 projects) and directly by my employer CEA. Copyright belongs to CEA (or to the FSF for contributions to GCC...), moral rights to me. Jun 7, 2020 at 11:16

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