Revenue & Coinvestment

When a work is registered with our cooperative, its developer names a per-unit price, as well as a total community cost and licensing duration. Copies of the work are then licensed to the public at the per-unit amount, until the total community cost or the licensing duration has been reached, upon which the work is dedicated to the public domain. Similar to open source licensing, the source code for works registered in this manner become available to cooperative members who wish to create derivative works.

Unlike creative commons or open source software licensing, our cooperative license is not free of charge. In exchange for registration, revenue bonds are issued, which give the holder the right to receive royalties from licensing revenue. In this way, creators could obtain sustainable financial support from their works. Moreover, the revenue bonds can be used for coinvestment with investors and collaborators. The per-unit amount, total community cost, and licensing duration are not limited by the cooperative, however, they must be specified with a concrete value. These values may also be downward (but not upward) adjusted at any time. Besides the individualized unit pricing, potential buyers and collaborators may use the community cost and license duration as part of a more collective decision making process.

Compositional Opportunities

Works often have predecessors and components. When a work has other dependencies, its per-unit price, community cost, and licensing months are computed compositionally. Besides dependencies licensed though by the cooperative, a work’s dependencies can also be in the public domain or compatibility licensed. Our system is compatible with permissive open source licenses, such as the Apache 2.0 and BSD, that include the rights to make and distribute derivative works. Licenses having reasonable attribution requirements, such as the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY), may also be compatible. Most other copyleft and commercial licenses, with restrictions on use, distribution, or the ability to make derivative works are not compatible with our approach. Even so, the authors of incompatibly licensed works may wish to additionally to license their work though our cooperative.

Unlike traditional commercial licensing, our cooperative license does not restrict the creation of derivative works. In this way, other creators could build and offer their own improvements in the marketplace, where sales of the derivative works reward the original developers. Further, users who have licensed works though our cooperative could contract for their own improvements. If those derivatives are provided back though the cooperative, then it is possible for the original developer to incorporate these derivatives back into the next version of their product. In this way broader commercial collaboration could be established among creators and their users.