The AGPL is a software licensing agreement, and it specifies a proxy that will determine whether later versions of the license will be accepted and which permissions they will grant. Once the proxy makes a public statement of acceptance, the program is permanently authorized to use the version. Later versions of the license may grant additional or different permissions, but they impose no additional obligations on authors and copyright holders. This article explains how to make your program compatible with AGPL.
Copyleft is an inexpensive way to keep the various contributors honest
Copyleft is the process of licensing software to ensure that its authors do not infringe on anyone’s rights. It is also used to ensure that changes made to a piece of software are released under the same license. For example, the GNU General Public License was developed by Richard Stallman in 1989, and it incorporates the concept of copyleft. The GNU GPL was updated several times, the most recent being v3 in 2007. Today, other examples of copyleft licenses in open source software include the Mozilla Public License 2.0, the Eclipse Public License, and the Google Developer Program. The GNU GPL v2 remains the most widely used copyleft license in open source software.
The copyleft concept is a general one, and it has to be implemented in a specific legal structure. The concept is usually explained by the phrase “share and share alike.” The legal text implementing copyleft is called a copyright license. Creative works are commonly covered by CC BY-SA, and technical works are covered by GPL. While copyleft is generally used to protect artists, it is also used to protect consumers and developers.
It’s a hassle to adopt
The GNU Affero General Public License is a copyleft license that is based on the GNU General Public Licence. It is intended to foster cooperation and free software by providing a legal framework that allows software developers to modify and share their works. It is not as straightforward as the GNU GPL, which was designed to protect developers from legal action from content owners.
This license is divided into versions. Each version has a distinguishing version number. Some programs will specify the version of the license they want to use, while others will simply state that they will accept any later version. The only difference between the two versions is that later versions may have additional permissions or have different obligations for authors and copyright holders. Thus, the AGPL is not free from controversy.
It’s incompatible with the GPL
Incompatible with the GPL? Yes, but does that mean it’s bad? Generally speaking, it does. The GPL allows developers to modify software for free, as long as it’s based on the GNU general public license (GPL). That said, the GPL allows software creators to add their own features and restrictions. If you’re a software creator, you may be wondering how to make your software GPL compatible.
The first problem with GPL-incompatible software is that it’s difficult to switch licenses once you’ve made your software. Many OSS/FS programs have been developed under the MIT/X open source license, but you’ll have to change the license to make it compatible with GPL. If you’re not sure if a license is GPL compatible, read the license. Then decide whether it’s better to change the license later.
It addresses the application service provider (ASP) loophole
The ASP loophole has been around since the 20th century. An ASP could modify GPL-covered software and then make it available for paying customers to use on its hardware without triggering the source code-distribution requirement. Today, this is the equivalent of a SaaS provider. But the ASP loophole is now closed with the Affero General Public License (GPL).
Henry Poole, a programmer at the Free Software Foundation, sought to address this ‘loophole’ by creating a new license that required ASPs to distribute their source code. The resulting Affero GPL v1 was published in 2002, and the Free Software Foundation and other organizations subsequently approved the GPL version three. This license has since been used by many ASPs.