You may have already heard of this open source license, but if not, here are a few things every SaaS company needs to know about the Afferro GPL or AGPL (at least from the perspective of an open source attorney).
1) If you use AGPL’d code or modified code in your SaaS offering, you need to make the source code available.
- Yep, this license requires that if provide the AGPL’d code ‘over a network,’ you must make the source code available (unlike the GPL where if you modify the code but do not provide it externally (i.e. do not distribute it) you do not trigger the source code requirement).
2) What does the GPL say again?
- It is generally considered that SaaS companies that provide their service over the Internet/network (but do not require the user to download the code) are not ‘distributing‘ the code. As a result, using the GPL’d code in a SaaS offering does not necessarily require disclosure of the source code (this is called the ASP exception).
3) Where does it actually say this in the AGPL?
- There is a new Section 13 of the AGPL:
Ok so this is not that hard to remember: if you use code under the AGPL in your SaaS offering, you need to take seriously the source code disclosure requirements, as the rules are very different from the GPL (just a reminder from an open source law firm).