protecting an Innovation from unlicensed abuse by a rival commercial 3rd party

Mark James mrj at
Fri Jun 11 09:26:58 UTC 2010

On 06/10/10 23:33, Harri Saarikoski wrote:
My question concerns an AGPL covered OS software (below Software)
> developed by Company#1. We (this writer) are Company#2 who extend this
> Software to produce Software+ by way of an Innovation whose copyright
> Company#2 solely owns. Company#2 and Company#1 are partners that want to
> market and sell Software+ /in full agreement and cooperation//.

Harri, the surest way to prevent "Innovation" from being exploited is by patenting one or more aspects. Closing the 
source isn't really a way to delay clones, because cloning requires clean-room methods anyway. How easy would it be to 

You say you want to "market and sell Software+". But unless you're selling support, closing some aspect, or embedding 
ads, it very difficult to directly make money from software that only employs an OSI-certified licence. Are you looking 
for a business model, or are you just wanting to build a reputation, which could lead to a job?

What benefits do you think community involvement can bring you? What do you mean by "maximal exposure"? Yes, the 
innovation, excitement, goodwill, access, and general activity that comes from community participation can be a bulwark 
against competitors, and you can protect a lead by using trademarks, but how are you going to make money?

Perhaps you should employ a licence that makes it possible for you to require some users to pay to use your software, 
while at the same time using some OSS-like aspects as marketing techniques:

   - Free trials.
   - Free and discounted licences for some types of users.
   - Releasing the entire source code, build tools, and documentation source documents.
   - Accepting, and possibly rewarding, contributions.
   - Allowing people to release, and possibly sell, derivative works, as long as users of this software also abide by 
your licence, and so must sometimes pay you.

It can be argued that this is more FOSS-like than the common dual-licence approach of an OSI-certified core plus closed 
documentation or extensions, and provides a more certain revenue stream than the dual-licence approach of only charging 
users who require a less restrictive licence.


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