[License-discuss] "Channelized" Open Source Licensing

Kate Vershov Downing kate.v.downing at gmail.com
Sat Oct 20 05:51:16 UTC 2018

In practice, party C can't "do what they want to the OSS." SaaS/cloud
offerings are often provided to Party C in such a way that Party C can't
really modify them except through a set of Party B-defined configurations.
Party C's ability to use the software is tightly circumscribed in such a
way that it couldn't violate the original OSS license even if it wanted to
because the OSS is bundled into a proprietary offering where any attempt to
modify it would result in a loss of support and warranty (and is also
probably explicitly forbidden and technically impossible).

If anything, I think the complaint should be framed not in the sense that
the current model allows party C to run amok, but in the sense that the
current model forbids party C from exercising the rights party A intended
to grant all users of its software.


On Fri, Oct 19, 2018 at 11:18 AM Peter Corless <peter at scylladb.com> wrote:

> 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
> cloud.
> 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
> OSS.
> 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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