Fair-code is not a software license. It describes a software model where software:

Fair-code Principles

Free and Sustainable

A sustainable software model for 2020 and beyond, we believe it is possible to respect the principles of freedom without being ideological. The fair-code software model promotes the use of profit as a means to continue development of software in a way that is compatible with their author’s short and long-term economic intentions. Although there are many successful projects which have traditionally worked as communities of unpaid professionals and experts, fair-code attempts to create a level playing ground for software authors of all backgrounds, including those that would like to make a living off of their work.

Open but Pragmatic

We desire open specifications, discussion, and collaboration. All of these are good practice and help the software improve and the community grow.

Community meets Prosperity

We want people to make money off of their software, but we recognize that the community benefits from a project's economic success. Within fair-code, creators have the exclusive right of commercializing their work, ensuring long-term profitability. Companies that wish to commercialize the software can contact the author and form a business relationship that benefits both parties!

Meritocratic and Fair

We believe that authentic meritocracy is still possible in software, and that software authors and contributors should be respected and have influence for their contributions to a project.

Fair-code FAQ

What does fair-code mean to me as a user of fair-code software?

Fair-code projects can be used totally free: privately, and even within a company with 10,000 employees. If they, however, want to commercialize it and charge people money for a, for example, hosted version or do consulting, restrictions may apply. The restrictions can be different depending on the license and cost structure which the project uses.

Why fair-code?

There is currently an economic disconnect between the people who create a project and put the most work in and the people who want to make money using it. Fair-code can ensure that projects are long term financially viable for their authors to continue and implement new features, or at least somewhat economically advantageous to their authors should their software succeed. It’s not that they should share all of the profit with the authors, but that fair-code attempts to ensure profitable business relationships which benefits both persons and/or companies.

What is “fair” about taking away the right to commercialize?

One way of making software more fair is by allowing developers to profit. Many companies today invest resources into taking an existing project and copying the ongoing work of the project creators; afterwards, creating and maintaining a hosted version using their code. In a fair circumstance, should they benefit from using the software, they could add certain features, fix bugs and support the community of users enjoying the product. In many cases they do, but fair-code ensures that this can happen by bringing businesses to the negotiation table when it comes to commercializing software.

How does fair-code relate to open-source or free software?

We see fair-code as an alternative model which addresses key concerns which open-source and free software currently fail to address. We support the community at large, and it is strongly encouraged that fair-code projects donate and contribute to likely more financially strained free and open source siblings if possible. As fair-code is adopted by software projects, more people who appreciate open-source and free software will have the financial means to support the open-source projects that they rely on.

Fair-code licenses

The following existing licenses meet all the fair-code requirements and projects using any of them can use the "fair-code" term.
There is no affiliation between fair-code and any of the above organizations!


The following companies/projects use compatible licenses:
There is no affiliation between fair-code and any of the above projects!


If you have fair-code related questions or you want to be involved contact us.
We love to get feedback to improve fair-code even further!
(List in alphabetical order)
Or best via Twitter (@faircode_io) and Github (faircode-io)!