Monetization via Paid Commercial Use

AKA: Dual-Licensing, Multi-Licensing, Hybrid licensing,Resticted License, Proprietary Licences, License Exceptions

Different licenses forcing commercial users to pay a license fee to the open source project. Enables recurring payments often with support guarantees or SLAs.


Variants & Options:



Characteristics Value Note
Effort to set-up Weeks Creation of a commercial license and legal documents
Effort to maintain Low Maybe reminders that commercial use is needed
Cost to set-up Medium Will require a lawyer to setup the license and contracts
Cost to maintain Low Will cause costs for legal or tax related stuff (but should be covered by income)
One-time Income High Few companies might pay large amounts if the OSS is essential
Recurring Income High License can enforce recurring payments per month or year
Income Predictability High Companies probably need OSS for several years
Full income Threshold 10+  
Recipient C  
Additional Work Medium Will cause communication and SLA related work
Visibility Medium Easy to overlook but should stand out in a tech due dilligence
Necessity to pay High However, companies might look for other solutions
Entry Threshold Medium Individual contracts between every OSS and company might be necessary
Countervalue None Legal commercial use
Scalability Medium Scales with the number of commercial users (who must pay)
Effort for marketing Low  
Competitors O Depends on the original OSS licence: other companies could fork and develop it further with a proprietary license.
Software types Special Best for libraries or programs companies build tools upon

NOTE: A CLA (Contributor License Agreement) may be required to accept code contributions from third parties to the source code while retaining the ability to dual-license those contributions under the proprietary license.