Co-operative Software License... What do people think?

This looks interesting:

The CSL (“Cooperative Software License,” “Communist Software License”) is a Copy far left license that can be used for software and other cultural works. It follows along the lines of the Peer Production License, but with added stipulations on software’s redistribution.

TL;DR, it’s copyleft, but with one added restriction: You cannot sell the licensed work as a “traditional company” (anything other than a non-worker-owned cooperative). You can only commercially redistribute licensed works as an individual or as a worker-owned cooperative.



The idea for a Cooperative Software License sounds great, and worker owned coop software license as well. However:

  • Why limit it to only worker owned cooperatives? Many businesses make more sense to run as consumer, rather than worker coops. For example, if banks would be coops owned by the bankers instead of customers, it would be worse from a perspective of sharing power more equally and making businesses more accountable to stakeholders. Housing is another area where worker owned coops seem quite difficult as a solution. I think worker coops are the most badass, but other coop are good as well.
  • Why call it “Cooperative Software License” if large majority of cooperatives can’t use it? Unfortunately only small share of coops are worker owned. Something like “worker ownership license” might be better description of the license.

Shouldn’t coops be cooperating with all other coops? I think it’s a massive problem that big consumer coops don’t use their resources more to support worker coops. But here it seems is a rare example of worker owned coops not wanting to use their resources (software) to support other coops - which I think in general is a rare, almost non-existent problem, especially compared to the magnitude of the reverse situation. Nevertheless, it could be argued it goes against Principle 6 of cooperation between coops.

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The peer production license has come up before:

Some of the discussion about this from the last decade are linked from the p2p foundation wiki.

I’m yet to be convinced that copy far left is a practical alternative to the GNU GPL.

Because it’s a socialist/anarchist orientated license and aims for bolstering worker control of the means of production. Then you wouldn’t need banks :smiley_cat:

It’s utopic, sure but that is why it exists as more a though exercise rather than a practical thing. It would need some iteration (like the GPL has had).

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Indeed, Alan Toner made this point

I used to joke that licenses should either be precise in their purpose like the GPL, or so outrageous as to open up other dimensions of reflection or satire – I always imagined it as a dadaist subversion of legal boilerplate. In Copyleft, Kleiner has managed to apply a similar method to good effect.

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