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Commons License
Commons License

The Harberger Commons License (HCL) is a proposed alternative to copyleft and permissive open source licensing intended to be self-sustainable while remaining attractive to commercial investment. This balance is maintained by enforcing a self-assessed "tax" on deriviative works that are kept proprietary.

Core Provisions

  • Software under this license can be used freely so long as any derivative works are provided open source and under the same license.
  • Software under this license can be used while keeping derivative works proprietary, but such derivative works are subjected to a self-assessed tax so long as they remain proprietary.
  • If a proprietary derivative work’s owner is paid their self-assessed valuation they must immediately open source the propriertary derivative work.


At the moment the Harberger Commons License is merely a concept and is not ready to be actively used for software licensing. We are looking for help to draft the license, document compliance processes, and develop tooling to reduce compliance friction and direct taxes to projects using constrained liberal radicalism matching. If you are interested in contributing please join the #commons channel on our keybase.

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