Consider a Flexible Copyright License
- A default contract offered to anyone.
- Original author opens portions of source code to public. The author may keep a key complement proprietary or sell enchancements or services to the growing community.
- Offers a standard free open source license; open disclosure on derivative works takes place after T years.
- Author profits from increase sales of complementary good.
Most licenses are extreme (corner) solutions
- Let σ ∈ [0,1] be the measure of openness.
- Let t ∈ [0,1] be the time to release derivative works (0 = now, 1 = expiration of standard copyright).
- Increasing σ diminishes profits, but promotes adoption.
- Increasing t delays adoption & retards access, but promotes innovation.
An author's optimal profit may well occur somewhere other than an extreme (corner) point.
Consider that a flexible license positions your copyrightable works as a platform upon which diverse sources can build. Access to source code affects who can innovate but incentives affect who will innovate. Proprietary systems benefit from becoming more like OSS while OSS benefit from becoming more proprietary.