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Author Topic: AskoziaPBX License Addendum Notification  (Read 2055 times)
Michael
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« on: April 29, 2010, 01:13:38 PM »

Hello Everyone,

I thought I'd post a note here about an upcoming addendum in the license which AskoziaPBX is distributed under. Any changes to the license of an Open Source project are quite sensitive so I want to make sure its purpose and side-effects are well understood.

A third condition is being added to our current BSD based license which reads:

Quote
3. Redistribution in any form at a charge, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the software, including but not limited to value added products, is prohibited without prior written consent of tecema (a.k.a IKT).

This basically means: if you are selling a product based on AskoziaPBX, we want to know about it. It gives us legal ground to require those directly profiting from the firmware to be in contact with us.

This does not mean there is automatically a licensing charge for the software. It only means they must have our written consent. Admittedly, we wish to work together with these companies so that some of their revenue can flow back into the project and ensure its financial stability. However, this will be decided on a case-by-case basis. At least we will have contact with these entities and also gather feedback on how AskoziaPBX is being used and marketed in the "real world."

This addendum protects the project. Since starting in 2007, it has been fully funded by IKT. I work on it full-time and there are also now others working full and part-time to keep up with the load. This costs a lot of money. I cannot give an exact number but, at this point, AskoziaPBX represents a investment of more than €200,000. It is now a very professional product, attractive to consumer hardware manufacturers and it could simply be taken advantage of. Without this addendum we would then have no mechanism to seek a piece of the profits they are generating from our investment.

For you: the user, the developer, the IT installer, etc. nothing has changed. AskoziaPBX remains a free Open Source project. This is key to its survival. You, the community around the project, are an invaluable piece of this project. Closing the source is not an option at all.

Also, for me, this project is my passion and hobby turned job. I'm very lucky to be getting paid for doing something I love and want to make sure this is a sustainable endeavor.

I welcome any feedback about this change. Which questions do you have? Which cases are still unclear?

Best Regards,
-Michael
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 02:07:44 PM by Michael Iedema » Logged
Michael
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2010, 11:22:29 AM »

The license has been updated. To examine which files were changed and how they were changed, examine the subversion diff found here:
 - https://wush.net/trac/askozia/changeset/1515
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Severian
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010, 06:44:41 AM »

..
A third condition is being added to our current BSD based license which reads:

Quote
3. Redistribution in any form at a charge, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the software, including but not limited to value added products, is prohibited without prior written consent of tecema (a.k.a IKT).

Howdy,
  I understand what you are trying to do, but this is scary.  The dominant characteristic of BSD software is that it can be widely copied and used.  There may or may not be an advertising clause, but nobody can stop you from redistribution, even for money.  You have the right to change the license on your own software, but with this change, I don't think Askozia will qualify as open source anymore.
  I think you have a neat project.  I am not planning any commercial derivatives of your code.  I just want to teach people in a couple of local computer groups how to use it.  So, I hope you will not take offense at this comment.
Good luck
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Michael
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2010, 08:13:41 AM »

No offense taken, the discussion on licenses is always interesting and quite complex.

What we're trying to emulate in our additional condition is something similar to the Creative Commons license conditions which allow derivatives but not for commercial use:
 - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

This has some similarity to the original BSD license which also included a non-promotion clause.
 - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BSD/

That non-promotion clause would perhaps also satisfy our needs to protect the exploitation of our finished product by removing the credibility of the name from the product. However, removing the name (protecting our trademark) is not enough. A large, equally credible company could still simply re-brand the interface and re-release the firmware on their fleet of products. We would have no legal leverage to obtain a slice of that revenue.

The Creative Commons licenses are unfortunately not well suited to software works because it does not address the difference between source and object code:
 - http://bit.ly/bcjY0R

We discussed at great length the best way forward to both protect the project and still keep everything as open as possible. A non-commercial clause would be a great addition to open source licenses and could solve many projects' exploitation problems. I'm not a lawyer though and the intricacies are intimidating.
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