GPL + Commercial Exceptions

Greg Herlein gherlein at
Fri Jul 6 14:01:16 UTC 2001

> What are the procedures and issues involved in making commercial
> exceptions to GPL code?  Are there any templates or guidelines out
> there that people know of?  Has anyone actually done this?

In this scenario you would NOT be making an exception, you would
be doing an additional specific case license.  You released the
code under the GPL, which allows certain uses of the code.  Since
you own the copyright for all the code, there is nothing to stop
you from doing a separate deal to license that code
commercially.  I expect this to become more commonplace.  I plan
to do it myself.

The issues are:

1.  you must have undisputed ownership of the copyright - this
means that if anyone submitted patches or fixes, you need to get
disclaimers or releases from them so they assign their copyright
- for the part they wrote/fixed - to you.  This was a hot topic
here last week - look in the archives and you will see.  GNU has
an informative page at:

and if you write the FSF, they will share their templates for
disclaimers and releases.  

2.  other than that it's like any other commercial software
venture.  How you price it is a business issue that depends on
your model and your market.  As far as a "templates or
guidelines" for this, look to any commercial software house and
see how they do it....  you are about to do the same!


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