Trademark contract to fund OSS maintenance


Since Sustain OSS 18, with our non profit The Maintainers/Les Mainteneurs) have been working on a new trademark contract enabling maintainers to collect fees based on the commercial usage of their OSS trademark assets. It has the advantage to keep the code open-source as OSI and FSF definition and still get revenues.
In a nutshell, the principle is that " the software of the project is free, the commercial usage of swag of the project is not"

The draft document is here :

If we consider that the velocity of the project, the contributions quality, the fair governance and the trust in the future is represented by the brand of the project, we have considered that companies like IT consulting and vendors who directly use the trademark assets of the projects should give back a sustainer fee to the project.
But the software stays free to use, modify and redistribute and sell. It is only if you base your commercial promotion on the trademark of the project than you pay a fee back.

In counterpart, you would become an official “Sustainer” with the right to apply for bigger contracts mentioning that you are an official sustainer of OSS project you use.

Trademak based OSS business is a proven model as it is mainly the Redhat business model with RHEL and CentOS. RHEL is the trademark enforced version of the OSS where CentOS is the trademark free version. And it works pretty well commercially. the Maintainers contract just aimes to democratize the model.

And if people want to fork the project!? they can! they just need to give it a new name and new logos.