[License-discuss] GPL and proprietary WebAPIs

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Tue Dec 27 15:07:12 UTC 2011

> I'm trying to find an appropriate licensing strategy
> for our company, and I'm expressly trying to prevent
> and understand the sort of shims that seem to be
> standard industry practice.  If our work can't be
> protected from these "creative circumventions" by
> the GPL, then we probably won't use this license.

If it's not a derivative work then it's not a derivative
work and you should have no heartache.  If it is a
derivative work then you have legal recourse to correct

IMO, "appropriate licensing strategy" is far more a
business decision than a legal one.  If you wish to develop
an open source community around your product then 
GPL v3 + a proprietary license option like MySQL AB 
offered is safe enough for most practical purposes.

If your commercial terms are reasonable enough then
I would hazard that paying the royalties for reselling 
or joining your commercial developer program rather 
than risk going to court is the path most companies 
will take.

Then your scenario of shims and "creative 
circumventions" isn't a negative but a positive as it 
enhances both your revenue stream and ecosystem.

Regardless of how airtight you may think a license
may or may not be it ultimately depends on to what 
extent you're willing to go (and your financial ability)
to defend those rights.

As others have suggested you can look at Affero 
if you think vanilla GPL v3 too lax.



IANAL, these are my personal opinions, etc.

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