[License-discuss] "Channelized" Open Source Licensing

Peter Corless peter at scylladb.com
Fri Oct 19 18:17:24 UTC 2018

There seems to be a lot of buzz these days about licenses in the face of
cloud providers.

I'd like to ask if anyone has considered, in this group, the concept of a
'channelized' license?

Party A: An OSS developer.
Party B: A cloud provider who hosting Party A's OSS, and is is charging
Party C for this.
Party C: A  user, using Party A's software, which is hosted on Party B's

Under current licensing, the OSS license is between Party A, and Party B.
Party B really isn't modifying or contributing to Party A's OSS code base.

Party C, meanwhile, can do whatever they want to the OSS, since they have
no legal license obligation back to Party A. Their access is provided
through Party B. They could, theoretically, violate the license Party A
distributed their software under, since they are just using it.

Ideally, what *should* be going on is:

Party A, an OSS developer licenses Party B, who contributes something back
in kind or consideration to Party A for the commercialized utility of the

Party A also provides an OSS license (through the product itself, or
through Party B), to Party C, ensuring Party C abides by whatever OSS
license model Party A wishes to apply.

I've been searching, but have come up short with any sort of current
license model that is "cloud aware." And, pardon the expression, but this
seems to be a cloud under which the entire industry is slogging at present.
Thoughts? Feedback?

-Peter Corless.
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