I’m looking for a license to put in a publicly available GitHub/GitLab/etc. repository. This license would be almost Open Source, but it would give me the exclusive reserved rights to distribute functional versions of the software, for lack of a better term. Basically anyone would be free to do with the code as they please, so long as they’re not taking users from my published program (people cloning a modified version of the source code to run it does not count as taking users from the original for the purposes of this license). Hence, Hybrid Source.
What the License Will Allow
Anyone can copy, redistribute, execute, modify, and otherwise utilize the source code however they see fit for personal and/or private use. Some examples:
- Anyone can clone the source code
- Anyone can run the source code for their own personal use
- Anyone can modify their clone of the source code, but not the license
- Anyone can share the source code, be it modified or original, as long as it has the same license
In other words, I want anyone to be able to fork, modify, and submit a pull request with my source code.
What the License Will Not Allow
Only I can release functional versions of the software to the public domain. Some examples:
- Only I can publish an app or program (i.e. on the Play Store) using the source code
- Any modified version of the software that is created, since it must include the same license, can be utilized with my publishing rights
Basically, if someone clones and modifies my repo, but then instead of submitting a PR they just chuck it into another publicly available repository, I have the right to merge it into mine and utilize it in my commercialized application. I would be the one responsible to take that action if I wanted the code in the original, but they would still be free to keep their repository up if they so desired.
What I’m Trying to Accomplish
I want to develop an application that can receive contributions from the community, similar to OSS. However, this application will have a subscription model that could potentially entice someone to tank the cost of running a cheap VPS in order to release a free version, or perhaps a version that runs off of ads, and make it available to the public as a functional program. This is what I’m trying to prevent. I want only a single publicly released application derived from the source code that is owned by me to be found on app stores, etc. Is there an already existing license that does that or something similar?
I recognize that none of the following comments, answers, etc. are to be considered legal advice, and that anyone who responds to this question on this forum is free from all liabilities that could be associated with their advice.
I recognize that it would be best to send this exact question to a lawyer, but frankly I don’t think this software is revolutionary enough to warrant the expense. I’m just looking for something that already exists, as I imagine I’m not the only developer to desire a license like this.
Please let me know if there is a way I can improve my question in the comments below, and I will try to do so to the best of my ability. I am always looking for constructive feedback.