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All content by Kyle E. Mitchell, who is not your lawyer.

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The Diachronic Treadmill Licenseautomatically reward supporters with copyleft exceptions

The lack of evidence for a relation between objective circumstances and reported well-being has given rise to the concept of a hedonic treadmill, on which humans’ happiness remains stationary, despite efforts or interventions to advance it. The metaphor is also interpreted to mean that humans’ happiness will decline if their material circumstances remain constant. — Shane Frederick

hedonic, adj.

relating to or considered in terms of pleasant (or unpleasant) sensations.

diachronic, adj.

concerned with the way in which something, especially language, has developed and evolved through time.

Here’s a sketch of a public software license that implements automatic dual licensing, rewarding in-kind and monetary contributions to the project with exemption from copyleft. This sketch mixes elements of the Blue Oak Model and the API Copyleft License with one new piece, the Supporters section.

The Diachronic Treadmill License 1.0.0-pre1

Contributors to this software license their contributions on the terms of the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0, plus the following terms:


(This section was adapted from The API Copyleft License.)

With the exception of Prototypes, unless you qualify under Supporters, you must contribute all software that invokes this software’s functionality, as well as changes and additions to this software, according to Contributing.


This section encourages ongoing contribution to this software and monetary support of those contributing.

Supporters of this software are exempt from Copyleft for versioned releases that they supported. An individual or legal entity qualifies as a supporter of a specific, versioned release of this software if they, or someone working for them, did any of these:

  1. contributed source code, documentation, or other written work to that release

  2. contributed written work to another release made after that release

  3. contributed written work to another release made during the six calendar months before publication of that release

  4. donated at least [$500] to contributors via [donation page URL], either after that release or during the twelve calendar months before publication of that release

In other words, contributors and donors are exempt for all old releases, as well as new releases within the six calendar months after their last act of support.


(This section was copied from The API Copyleft License.)

You need not contribute prototype changes, extensions, or applications that you do not end up using for more than fourteen calendar days, share with anyone else, or use to provide a service to anyone else.


(This section was adapted from The API Copyleft License.)

When this license requires you to contribute software:

First, publish all source code for that software, in the preferred form for making changes, through a freely accessible distribution system widely used for similar source code, so the developer and others can find and copy it.

Second, ensure that each part of that source code is licensed to the public under The Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0 or this Diachronic Treadmill License. You may not change the license terms for this software, but only to contribute software covered by Copyleft under your choice of permitted license.

Take these steps within thirty calendar days of creating or using the software for the first time.


The Notices section of the Blue Oak License is replaced with:

You must ensure that everyone who gets a copy of any part of this software from you, with or without changes, also gets the text of this Diachronic Treadmill License.

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.

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