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Oklahoma State University
Technology Development Center

A unit in the Division of the Vice President for Research

Software and Open Source Licensing

Technology Development Center (TDC) helps commercialize and publish software and other creative content developed by researchers at Oklahoma State University (OSU). While OSU owns the copyright to software developed during research at the University, OSU allows faculty members to choose a license as they see fit, from a commercial license on one end to an open source license on the other.

TDC assists faculty members and authors in determining the right license for their software and other creative content by considering the goals of the author(s), any third party restrictions on the developed software, and its commercial value.

Types of Software/Creative Content Licenses:

Commercial License:

A commercial license for the software/copyright material would require the licensee to pay a royalty fee (one time or recurring) based on the product. A commercial use license is more restrictive and limits sublicensing, modifying or reverse engineering the product and supports maintaining confidentiality by the licensee.

Open Source License:

An open source license is typically non-restrictive and allows for the user/licensees to modify and distribute the software, even commercially. There are different types of open source licenses. Some set restrictions and conditions for further modification and commercial distribution of the licensed software/creative content.

Dual License:

Dual licensing provides an option for distributing the software and other creative content under both the commercial and open source licenses. A software/creative content could be distributed under a no-cost open source license that allows users to access and use the software/creative content for research purpose and restrict them on use and distribution for commercial purpose. The same software could be licensed commercially for a fee that permits the use of software/creative content for commercial purpose.

Guidelines for Publishing Open Source Content:

  • Complete the copyright disclosure form and submit a signed copy to the TDC.
  • Once the disclosure is submitted, TDC staff will work with the creator to determine an appropriate open source license for the software or creative content while taking the creator's goal and any limitation of distribution into consideration. For example, existing agreements, third party open source software usage, and joint ownership could put limits on how the software/creative content could be distributed.
  • TDC staff can help you determine the appropriate copyright notice, licensing language and disclaimer to go along with your content.
  • TDC can also help distribute the software/creative content through our Technologies Available page.
  • For questions regarding software or open source licensing contact Jai Rajendran at jair@okstate.edu.