[License-discuss] Ethical + Support license addition for Apache

Gil Yehuda gyehuda at verizonmedia.com
Thu Aug 8 14:35:34 UTC 2019

>I'd love to know what you think of the whole thing.

tl;dr: It's difficult to control other people's actions. Instead, seek
acceptable outcome for yourself, and inspire goodness in others.

You explain "I'd like to open source my company's code, but, I'm worried my
code will be misused." which is a consideration we all have. But it's
difficult to say what "misuse" means. Your example of misuse is competition
and someone upset about progression from product to commodity. Is enabling
these _misuse_? It might have a negative consequence to the code publisher,
but it also has a positive outcome to everyone else. Misuse or market

That said, your proposed terms don't address outcomes that limit
competition, but suggest people follow a set of ethical practices. Lofty
aspiration, but why put it in a legal document? Write a blog post, give a
sermon, inspire people to be good and charitable. Some people will listen,
and the world (and the recipients of the charity) will thank you. But if
you put it in a license, (like the JSON license did) it will not accomplish
much. Since the release of the JSON license the world has yet to been
inspired to avoid using software for evil.

Practically: if anyone at my company wishes to use the Wakkaworks code
under the modified license you pointed to, I will block them from doing so.
It's not that I don't agree to be Ethical (#10) or to pledge Support (#11)
to open source projects. Rather, I don't agree to have you determine if my
company was ethical enough or pledged enough support for us to continue to
use your code. I suggest that if you find a company behaving unethically,
that you don't do business with them. But withholding their access to your
source code is not going to scale well or be effective. Are you really
going to spend time tracking all the people who use your code and
determining if they paid their pledges?

I'd inspire charity and ethics by example, not by legal terms. Take the
text from your license file and put it in your readme file. Say "We do the
right thing. We are proud of what we do. We give at least $12 a year to
charity as our way to perform Da'ana... We encourage users of our source
code to do the same and make the world a better place." That can't hurt,
it's a declaration, not a condition of use. Licenses are not inspirational

Gil Yehuda: I help with external technology engagement

>From the Open Source Program Office
<https://developer.yahoo.com/opensource/docs/> at Yahoo --> Oath - ->
Verizon Media

On Thu, Aug 8, 2019 at 9:31 AM Ofer <blueofer at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I'm a developer, now turned startup founder, so not much legal background
> except my own curiosity.
> I'd like to open source my company's code, but, I'm worried my code will
> be misused.
> The way I see it, code can bring value to a company.
> By open sourcing the code, I can help share this value with other
> companies, which is great.
> BUT -
> If my company open sources code, and then another company uses it to
> decrease my company's value (e.g by direct competition), that's a bad
> outcome. Recent example
> <https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/09/aws-gives-open-source-the-middle-finger/>.
> The other company could balance the fact that they're using my code and
> decreasing my company's value, by paying my company. So it could still be
> an overall win-win.
> The value my code brings to other companies also really varies on their
> use, so it's hard for me to even determine it.
> So, I thought of adding these 2 clauses to Apache:
> 1. Self-ethics: Make sure your use of the software complies with your own
> ethical standards. [I think this clause is just a good thing to have
> anyway, but also helps with the second, which is based on good-faith].
> 2. Support: Give back a proportion of the value this software adds to your
> business. For example, consider supporting with 10% of the added value you
> get from this software vs an alternative option. Open source is a form of
> public project, so this support is a form of daana (For more on daana, see
> here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C4%81na). I thought about requiring
> a symbolic support of 1$ per company per month (or year?) as a minimum and
> also requiring them to list themselves as users of the code with a
> description of their usage and support amount.
> You can see a sort of a draft I wrote for the above 2 sections in the
> Apache license:
> https://github.com/wakkaworks/wakka/blob/master/LICENSE#L180-L191
> I'd love to know what you think of the whole thing.
> Thanks,
> Ofer Bartal
> CEO at WakkaWorks
> _______________________________________________
> License-discuss mailing list
> License-discuss at lists.opensource.org
> http://lists.opensource.org/mailman/listinfo/license-discuss_lists.opensource.org
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