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Re: Need advice for dual licensing

On Sun, May 15, 2005 at 12:38:20PM +0200, Svante Signell wrote:
in response to Don Armstrong
> I'm very sorry, the top posting was not intentional. I will also try not
> to Cc: to people who don't want an extra copy.
> > On Fri, 13 May 2005, Svante Signell wrote:
> > > I just wanted to know if dual licensing is possible.
> > 
> > It is possible, but when we talk about dual licensing we typically
> > mean that two licenses are applied to a work, and the user can (at the
> > user's option) pick a specific license to use the work under.
> OK, so this is the case e.g. with mozilla and openoffice?
Exactly so. OpenOffice is (some Sun licence) and GPL, Mozilla is
MPL in parts and GPL - if I recall correctly.  A better instance is
Perl - which explicitly offers you the GPL or the Perl Artistic licence
at your option.
> > What you seemed to be asking for was two licenses for different
> > (disjoint) sets of users, which isn't going to be DFSG Free unless
> > both licenses are DFSG Free. [And possibly not even then... we'd have
> > to look at it very closely.]
> Is it possible to release the code as GPL and if necessary relicense at
> a later stage? Do all contributors to the improved version have to agree
> on this change of licence. What about copyright issues for contributed
> code?
All contributors would have to agree - in practice, it's very unlikely
to happen. Much better is to produce a minimal closed source licence 
for your commercial/private code - then open it after a period as GPL.
This is how Ghostscript worked/works: I think it's also how CUPS works.
You can only really do this if you have private code of significant
value to begin with. It may also be worth looking at MySQL's way of
doing things, or of providing the code free under the GPL but charging
for support - and insisting that commercial use requires a support
licence to include rights to use your logo and brand [which is more or 
less what Red Hat is doing at the moment - once your licence terminates,
not only can you not get updates but you probably should remove all RH
logos/artwork and so on. The RH clones - CentOS, White Box Linux - 
have to get around this by not including any of the logos/artwork 
at the beginning.]

Not good really, "software/information wants to be free" :)


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