I have the following scenario, and will appreciate any advice on the licensing issues.


I have Application A that is open source, and has an AGPLv3 licence. And I have Application B that is proprietary and closed source, but can carry out analytics on any given data set. Application B refers to no AGPLv3 libraries at all.

I configure Application B so that it can read the MySQL database tables of Application A, fetch specific datasets, and produce graphs and statistics in HTML format. Now I write Module X inside Application A (AGPLv3), and I am happy to release the source code of Module X as open source.

All that Module X does is to simply read the HTML generated by Application B and displays it to the users of Application A.


QUESTION 1: Is it right to think that I do not need to distribute Application B? Because: (a) It is proprietary, and (b) It works independently of any AGPLv3 libraries or code.

QUESTION 2: Now, if Module X were to execute a closed source / proprietary Application B on the command line, at run-time to fetch some output and simply display it, is it safe to assume that I do not need to expose/release Application B? That is because Application B has no AGPLv3 libraries - and it works independently of any other software - it can simply be called by anything on the command line. Any user that has bought the proprietary licence to Application B can execute it.

Your thoughts will be highly appreciated.

  • 1
    I would not be surprised if such a use case triggered the creation of the SSPL license for MongoDB, but I don't have the time to look into that and base an answer on it. If it is the case, then the answer to your question would be that you indeed do not have to release Application B. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Jun 10 '20 at 14:29

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