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I'm releasing an open-source jQuery plug-in that is free to use, modify and redistribute as long as you don't directly or indirectly charge your customers. Your software doesn't need to be open-source, it just need to be free. If you charge your customers, you need a commercial license.

I'm not sure about the licensing. http://www.turnjs.com/ is a plug-in that is similarly licensed and it is Non-comercial BSD license. But I can't find the definition for this license online.

Can anyone help me determining the best license for me based on my description? Thanks.

  • The turnjs BSD-style license can be found at github.com/blasten/turn.js/blob/master/license.txt – Bart van Ingen Schenau May 18 '13 at 12:12
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    I don't think there actually is a definition of "non-commercial BSD". The turn.js license looks like a self-written license in BSD style, with a clause forbidding commercial use. – Bart van Ingen Schenau May 18 '13 at 13:10
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    Do you really believe that there's a large chance that you'll make significant money off of commercial licenses? If not, why not just make it completely free, and sleep well knowing you've created something that others find useful? – Bryan Oakley May 19 '13 at 3:06
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    @BryanOakley Maybe he sleeps better with a roof over his head. – Andy Jun 1 '13 at 1:06
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    @Andy: could be, but again, the odds of this software being able to buy a roof are likely quite small. I'll admit to a bit of a black-or-white bias towards licensing -- either give it away no strings attached, or sell it. I don't like the "I'll give it to you, but I still want to control how you use it" thing. <shrug> – Bryan Oakley Jun 1 '13 at 3:15
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This may not be directly answering your question, but it seems like you're looking for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license. This allows for users to share and modify the work, under these conditions:

  • They must attribute their work to you.
  • They may not use it for any commercial purposes.
  • Thanks.. It seems weird because I've never seen software licensed under Creative Commons. I thought it was meant for online contributions like StackOverflow. – andrerpena May 18 '13 at 12:49
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    It is not recommended to use most of the Creative Commons licenses for software. Instead, they recommend consulting the resources provided by the FSF or the Open Source Initiative to select an appropriate license. – Thomas Owens May 18 '13 at 14:11
  • CC recommends against using CC licenses for software, but they do so because they think the FSF licenses are better for software. For the OP's use, the CC BY-NC license is actually a pretty good fit, and none of the FSF licenses are. – Ross Patterson May 18 '13 at 19:39
  • @ThomasOwens Yeah I've seen maybe two pieces of software using a CC license, but that particular license was the first thing I though of when I read this. – Dynamic May 18 '13 at 20:00
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"Believe it or not", what you're suggesting moves your project out of the open source realm into the non-free realm. Have a look at this Wikipedia entry on Open Source licenses, and in particular this quote in the 1st paragraph.

Licenses which only permit non-commercial redistribution or modification of the source code for personal use only are generally not considered as open-source licenses.

So with that detail out of the way, the FSF has provided a number of comments on other licenses that may suit your needs. Have a look at the FSF license list and look for where they discuss commercial aspects. Some examples would be:

  • Code Project Open License
  • Microsoft Shared Source CLI, C#, and Jscript License
  • Scilab License
  • Sun Solaris Source Code
  • University of Utah Public License

Needless to say, FSF does not approve of any of those license since they aren't Free. But their commentary may guide you to one that works for you. Code Project and the Microsoft Shared Source appear to be two good bets.

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