Redistribution constraint

Chris F Clark cfc at
Thu Aug 19 21:25:17 UTC 2004

Andrea Chiarelli started a discussion on redistribution constraints.
While I don't know the situation in Italy (or whereever you intended
to perform this contract), in many parts of the world I have found the
following hold.

Most agencies that hire contractors to do work for them want the
resulting work to be "theirs".  This is often called making a
work-for-hire.  This is particularly true if the hiring agency creates
the specification.

If the agency who hires the work doesn't put that requirement on the
work (this it is a work-made-for-hire), then the chances are the
agency won't be interested in selling your work in any case.  In those
cases, you can deliver the work either under a close source license
(e.g. it's mine you can't resell it) or under an open source license.
If you desire to deliver it under an open source license, a license
like the GPL should be sufficient to guard against them trying to sell
it without doing any work.  This is most often true in cases where you
have "created" the work and the client simply wants your work to be
adapted to some need of theirs.

If you are intending to make your money contracting, simply having it
noted that you were the original author of the work, may be sufficient
to guaranteee some revenue stream from your work.  Most clients are
looking for the most reliable and cheap source for "upgrades" to
packages that they receive.  Being the original author implies one
understands the hows and whys of the way the particular piece of
software works giving one an edge in doing upgrades.

As a result, I would not fret too much about the choice of license in
terms of keeping your clients from reselling your software.  I would
only worry significantly about that if one is attempting to "market"
the software as a packaged solution that needs no customization.
That's the case where one might need some form of "leverage" to get
clients to pay you.  

At least that's been my experience, and I have done similar "build a
custom solution for a client" and "pre-packaged solution" works.

Hope this helps,

Chris Clark                    Internet   :  compres at
Compiler Resources, Inc.       Web Site   :  
23 Bailey Rd                   voice      :  (508) 435-5016
Berlin, MA  01503  USA         fax        :  (978) 838-0263  (24 hours)

More information about the License-discuss mailing list