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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Licencing Moodle Modules. in Technical; Do we have any licensing experts here? I'm after some info on what is the best licence to release my ...
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    penfold_99's Avatar
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    Licencing Moodle Modules.

    Do we have any licensing experts here?

    I'm after some info on what is the best licence to release my new moodle and sims.net modules under.

    Currently the old version is issued under a gpl lience. For the new version i would like to sustain the project with a revenue stream.

    What is the best licence to issue it under as gpl allows third parties to resell the code without any income filtering back to the developers?

    I'm thinking of releasing the new version under a different licence.
    An education licence for schools who sign up directly and a commercial one for companies that resell the modules.

    I would like to allow schools it modify the code for internal use but not the commercial licence as supporting a large number will be a problem.

    This will allow an income to be generated and keep the project going not to make large about of money.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    The GPL does not allow companies to sell code. It simply allows them to cover the cost of distribution alone.

    If it is bundled in someone else's product, they can charge for their own product, but not your code.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    As your work includes Moodle code, you must license it under the GPL.

    I suggest you consider moving to a model similar to Red hat or Canonical where you give the software away for free, but charge for support, installation and training. This comercial model is entirely compatible with the GPL.

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    penfold_99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    The GPL does not allow companies to sell code. It simply allows them to cover the cost of distribution alone.

    If it is bundled in someone else's product, they can charge for their own product, but not your code.
    From the GPL Site.
    Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?

    Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)

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    If it helps I released my phpBB2 "pro" mods code under GPL but required a minimum contribution for people to gain access (to the mod, documentation & support). I made a point of supporting it well, the price was low £17.50 and there was free access for anyone from a registered charity.

    Because updates were frequent, the price was cheap and support issues dealt with promptly it worked really well. It was also surprising but many people simply understood that re-distributing it would work against them in the long run. I'm sure it ended up being passed around a bit but you'd be surprised how much expense wise you can cover.

    All that said, if you're wanting to go £50+ I'd think seriously about providing something along the model of £20 for access (inc' 3 months support) + £30 for 12 months support. Just as an example. That way the people in the know can support themselves, whilst the commercial types will probably want to pay that bit extra.

    Hope that helps..

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    From the GPL Site.
    Ah, this is down to semantics...

    "The term “selling software” can be confusing too
    Strictly speaking, “selling” means trading goods for money. Selling a copy of a free program is legitimate, and we encourage it.
    However, when people think of “selling software”, they usually imagine doing it the way most companies do it: making the software proprietary rather than free.
    So unless you're going to draw distinctions carefully, the way this article does, we suggest it is better to avoid using the term “selling software” and choose some other wording instead. For example, you could say “distributing free software for a fee”—that is unambiguous."

    They aren't technically 'selling' the software. They are distributing it - something they can charge for. Selling the software would imply they were they copyright holder and could alter licenses etc...

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    penfold_99 (26th June 2009)

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    contink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Ah, this is down to semantics...
    Always has been...

    It's why the whole "free" doesn't mean "free" confusion drives folks nuts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    As your work includes Moodle code, you must license it under the GPL.

    I suggest you consider moving to a model similar to Red hat or Canonical where you give the software away for free, but charge for support, installation and training. This comercial model is entirely compatible with the GPL.
    What moodle code will i be using? you talking about calling moodle functions?
    My code will be used by moodle.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    What moodle code will i be using? you talking about calling moodle functions?
    My code will be used by moodle.
    From the GPL FAQ:

    If I add a module to a GPL-covered program, do I have to use the GPL as the license for my module?

    The GPL says that the whole combined program has to be released under the GPL. So your module has to be available for use under the GPL.

    But you can give additional permission for the use of your code. You can, if you wish, release your program under a license which is more lax than the GPL but compatible with the GPL. The license list page gives a partial list of GPL-compatible licenses.

  11. Thanks to Geoff from:

    penfold_99 (26th June 2009)

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    contink's Avatar
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    IIRC that FAQ from the Moodle site is probably a bit too simplistic...

    You could for example write a class in PHP which works independently of Moodle with your own user, permissions and template code functions. If you then wrote a class that extended that original and allowed it to hook into the Moodle system you would only have to provide the extended class under GPL... Your original class could remain under whatever the heck you wanted as a licensing scheme.

    The important bit is that your primary code cannot use any other code that uses a different license.

    ... and yes, this a lot like trying to nail jelly to the wall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    From the GPL FAQ:

    If I add a module to a GPL-covered program, do I have to use the GPL as the license for my module?

    The GPL says that the whole combined program has to be released under the GPL. So your module has to be available for use under the GPL.

    But you can give additional permission for the use of your code. You can, if you wish, release your program under a license which is more lax than the GPL but compatible with the GPL. The license list page gives a partial list of GPL-compatible licenses.
    MIT licence is compatible with GPL and can be used in proprietary software.

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    If the project was released GPL.

    I could distribute the code for £X or free.
    I could then offer paid for support packages.

    Where do updates fall only to paid for support users or free users? or free users after a time delay?

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    If the project was released GPL.

    I could distribute the code for £X or free.
    I could then offer paid for support packages.

    Where do updates fall only to paid for support users or free users? or free users after a time delay?
    You could charge for it, but the users could also pass it on for free if they wanted to. ie. you can't prevent further distribution.

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    penfold_99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    You could charge for it, but the users could also pass it on for free if they wanted to. ie. you can't prevent further distribution.
    The question is how many people will want support as it's currently looking like there wont be enough interest to sustain the project.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    The other option then is to try and get your code into the Moodle core distribution. That way you don't have to maintain it.

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