Not a GPL Time-Bomb

Ben Boyter’s approach to open source licensing with this “Eventually Open” license is an interesting variation on open source and proprietary licensing themes.  Boyter is initially releasing his searchcode server code under the Fair Source License for five users, but has committed to licensing his code under GPLv3, automatically, after three years from the date of publication.

For a business, committing in advance to grant a free license to all on a fixed date in the future is a bold move.  Presumably this is a self-imposed incentive for bringing out new versions, to the keep the flow of licensing revenue alive — or perhaps merely an acknowledgment that it’s impractical to charge for software that is three years old (which is about the practical lifespan of a royalty-bearing product).

This approach is reminiscent of the 2015 Transitive Grace Period Public License, which applies GPL with a grace period to comply, but works in the opposite direction.


Author: heatherjmeeker

Technology licensing lawyer, drummer

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