Trademark-Based Contract for OSS Maintainers
= "The motivation behind this Trademark-based contract for OSS maintainers is to address the same concerns of a fairer sharing of the value in favour of the maintainers while respecting the integrity of the framework set for Free and Open Source software, by focusing on Trademarks rather than copyright".
"Free and Open Source software has "eaten the world" a good few years ago now, and it's undeniably here to stay. Paradoxically, this fact is not correlated to sustainable working conditions for many maintainers and contributors of FOSS projects, even when these projects are widely used and create indisputable value from a global perspective. This imbalance has an immediate negative impact directly on the maintainers but also on the whole ecosystems, as it diminishes its reliability, its quality and its dynamism. The awareness of this problem is already spreading as a deep concern for a growing audience, as shown by the popularity of events like Sustain Summit (Sustain OSS). The problem appears to be complex and multifaceted ; one important part is related to projects that lack visibility, as it has been accurately analysed by the Ford Foundation in its report "Roads and Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure", upon which different initiatives have already stated to act.
Another significant part of the problem relates to projects that have built a strong visibility, but consider that most of the value created by their work is captured by non-contributing third parties through offers that compete with and weaken their own revenue streams. This has led to the creation of new licenses, which had the major drawback of generating a damaging ambiguity on the notion of Open Source itself.
The clarity of definitions (both Free Software Definition and Open Source Definition) have been instrumental in the success of FOSS, as the OSI clearly explains it in its Affirmation of the Open Source Definition and should be preserved.
The motivation behind this Trademark-based contract for OSS maintainers is to address the same concerns of a fairer sharing of the value in favour of the maintainers while respecting the integrity of the framework set for Free and Open Source software, by focusing on Trademarks rather than copyright. This contract aims thus to be complementary to any Free and Open Source license used on a program, permitting to control the way the (registered or not) trademark of the Program is used and asking for sharing part of the value generated by the commercialisation of services based on the exploitation of such trademark.
As a side effect, we also hope it will help raise awareness among FOSS projects of the importance of trademarks, as it has been advocated by projects like FOSSmarks." (https://framagit.org/inno3/tm-contract-for-oss-maintainers)
- The project has been initiated by Mehdi Medjaoui from The Maintainers , http://themaintainers.org/