Continuing the discussion from Indie Code Catalog Free License v1.2.3:
I’d like to respond to a few very good comments about “for work” in the free license terms for the IndieCC standard deal. For reference, version 1.2.3 currently says:
You may not use the software to make money or for work…
I assume that everyone using this free license for their work will also be offering paid licenses online.
IndieCC sellers can and must provide a public e-mail address, so those with earnest questions about the free license can reach out directly for clarification, exceptions, coupons, &c.
Overall, I think IndieCC sellers will want to define “commercial” a bit more broadly, heading off, say, people working jobs at universities or charities. PolyForm and Prosperity currently allow use by folks at those kinds of institutions explicitly.
We might improve clarity of the stricter noncommercial rule a few different ways.
Use More Words
Taking a quick stab:
You may not use the software in business, to make money, or during paid work…
Good dictionaries haven’t been terribly helpful here.
Use a Few Words and a Rule on How to Read Them
We might also take the approach Parity did for scope of copyleft, keep the rule very short, and say how to read them:
You may not use the software for commercial purposes, broadly understood.
That doesn’t do much to guide people with specific use cases in mind who’ve dove into the terms. To offset that, we could copy the “Personal Uses” section from PolyForm Noncommercial:
Personal use for research, experiment, and testing for the benefit of public knowledge, personal study, private entertainment, hobby projects, amateur pursuits, or religious observance, without any anticipated commercial application, doesn’t count as use for a commercial purpose.
We could also consider the “Contributions Back” section from Prosperity:
Developing feedback, changes, or additions that you contribute back to the contributor on the terms of a standardized public software license such as the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0, the Apache License 2.0, the MIT license, or the two-clause BSD license doesn’t count as use for a commercial purpose.