[License-discuss] "Channelized" Open Source Licensing

Florian Weimer fw at deneb.enyo.de
Sat Oct 20 07:55:20 UTC 2018

* Peter Corless:

> 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.

By definition, OSS licenses do not have a field-of-use restriction, so
it is impossible to violate the license just by using the software
(unless the act of running the software creates some for of derivative
work).  Acts other than running the software typically require some
sort of license under copyright, and C can only get that on A's terms
(potentially as amended by B, but whether that's possible is really up
to A).

More information about the License-discuss mailing list