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I created a Chrome browser extension, and I want to post the code on Github so developers can contribute to the project.

My goal is to keep this as one single project though, and I fear that a lot of nearly identical extensions would start showing up in the Chrome Web Store if I released the code without restriction.

I would like to find a license that:

  • Allows modification
  • Forbids any distribution other than pull requests back to the original repo
  • Gives me (the repo owner) the right to distribute code from pull requests on the Chrome Web Store

I would think this would be a common problem, but I can't seem to find a license that fits. Do any licenses like this exist?

marked as duplicate by GlenH7, user16764, gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Kilian Foth Dec 17 '13 at 12:02

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 2
    The answer is: NO there is no license like that. A license like that would defeat the purpose of open source. Also, see: stackoverflow.com/questions/965468/… And this is related (but IMHO not identical): programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/79585/… – user16764 Dec 13 '13 at 1:07
  • I thought you were trolling before your edit. Thanks. – Travis Dec 13 '13 at 1:10
  • Anyway, I'm not looking for an "open-source" license, depending on how you define that. The second link is nearly the answer I wanted, but I'm not sure how copyright laws would apply for code received in pull requests. – Travis Dec 13 '13 at 1:19
  • Are you looking for simply no license combined with a CLA that grants you an irrevocable, royalty free (and all that other legal stuff) license to use it going forward? – user40980 Dec 13 '13 at 1:32
  • 4
    So you want people to help you improve your codebase, but don't want to give them any rights in exchange for their work. Unless you are paying, I'm not sure why anyone would want to contribute to such a thing. – Steven Burnap Dec 13 '13 at 2:59

No, there aren't any popular licenses that do that. But this is largely because a license is NOT required to allow simple use; licenses are a stipulated contract, wherein you give someone permission to use your property (the software) in exchange for some combination of renumeration and behavior.

The GPL, for instance, is a trade of "you must license anything you derive form this with the GPL and provide source code" for "here's my code." Conversely, Microsoft's usual license is "you paid $X, and gain one copy, and you can't sue us or do X with our software."

(It's likely that unless your extension is extremely clever and novel, someone will just make a copy of it themselves, though, without even looking at your code.)


It's a common problem and lawyers frequently solve that problem by being paid money to do so.

In the open source world there an interest into standardizing licenses. If you don't go that road, you usually have to write your own license or pay someone to do so.

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