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Q&A: Licensing my Stuff

Luis asks:

“I’m a lawyer who represents a variety of software companies, and a former developer. One of my clients would like to use your nsnotifications/background thread code in their product. Can they use it under the terms of an open source license, such as the MIT license? If not, is it available as part of the Cocoanetics parts store, or some other license?”

Thanks for asking, Luis! I’m happy to answer this as I am considering your diligent asking as a compliment.

The content of my site carries the Attribution/Non-Commercial/No-Derivatives Creative Common license badge. This covers both my articles as well as contained source code. You can reuse all you read here provided that you attribute it back to my, don’t earn money with my work or create derivative works from my writing.

I chose this restrictive clause generally to chiefly protect my blog posts so people cannot repurpose my output and make money with it. I seldomly blog full source code, usually only to illustrate a technique. So the same restrictions would apply to source code as they do for written text. However it would be ridiculous if I went about policing that everybody who ever got inspired by me would attribute his inspiration to me as his muse.

You can usually find my full source code on GitHub and there it has a different license: BSD. This carries the same Attribution clause as the CC license, but you CAN create commercial apps with it since this is not precluded by the BSD wording. However you have to keep the license intact as well as attribute the code to me either inside the about section of your app or the settings bundle. When used as source code in your own projects you have to leave the source code *license and copyright info* unchanged.

If you make any additions to my source code you are encouraged to send them back upstream for inclusion to the main public repo. This serves 1) the greater good and 2) you don’t end up with a copy that can no longer be updated from the main repo. Ideally you would not do private modifications but rather put these into sub-classes or categories to prevent update headaches in the future.

I offer a non-attribution license for $100 which releases the developer from the attribution requirement. This license is only applicable for my open source components on GitHub. For all my commercial components there are very reasonably priced licenses available. Usually each company using these would buy a license for themselves. Once paid, those commercial licenses allow for commercial use without attribution.

To sum it up, in exchange for use of my code I would either like some form from Attribution or some form of Payment.


Categories: Business

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