I’ve been turning attention back to the Big Time License, which never made it to 1.0.0, but should.
The main gist of Big Time is that it’s free for personal and small business. However, it also guarantees that big companies can get paid licenses on fair terms. If the developer stops selling commercial licenses, or refuses to license a particular big company on fair terms, the license becomes free for them, too.
To a near approximation, it’s a FRAND license for software. Similar to the terms on which large companies agree to license any patents they get accepted into a technical standard.
The main question in my mind about the latest draft of the license is whether my attempt to provide more clarity about what counts as “fair” is really worthwhile. Here’s how I defined “fair commercial license”:
A fair commercial license permits the recipient to do everything that a company qualifying under Small Business can do under these terms, for a fair fee, without additional unreasonable terms or terms that discriminate against particular licensees. A fair commercial license may be perpetual or for a term, and may or may not cover new versions of the software.
But I also went further, defining “fair fee”:
A fair fee is a fair market price for a fair commercial license. If the licensor advertises a fee for generally available fair commercial licenses, and more than one unaffiliated customer has paid that price in the past year, that is a fair fee. However, a fair fee may not be more than:
on an annual basis, the number of software developers who have made substantial technical contributions to the software in the last four years times one quarter of the annual wage for software developers reported in the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey
on a perpetual basis, four times a fair fee on an annual basis
In concrete terms, I wonder whether I should just strike the definition of “fair fee” completely, and leave that entirely up to the company and the developer to negotiate.