Commons License.

 A copyfair, source-available software license that aims to build an inclusive, prosperous society.

SVG Illustration

PCF envisions a class of digital platforms that can be leveraged as “Commons Resource”


To be fair & impartial before being equal.


of code with the community, of data with individuals.


Networked, unified, interoperable platforms for free opportunities, knowledge, and analytics.


Choice of visibility, to be forgotten, of mobility, and choice of markets & networks.

Self Determination

The right to determine the rules of the platform as a community.

Open Source and Copyfair

Source available intellectual commons for anchor organizations, community-owned organizations & governments.

Foundational Belief
Platform Commons License

Last Updated: 2nd October 2019


The Platform Commons License is a Copyfair, source-available software license that aims to build a prosperous, inclusive society.

1. Platform Commons License is a Copyfair License

The proprietary software led to the income divide in the World. On the other hand, copyleft licenses couldn’t help developers make a living either. The Copyfair is a principle that aims to solve the right vs left tug, representing fairly two important aspects from both sides.

  • Encourage fair sharing, for outreach and impact.
  • Encourage fair commercialization, to sustain continuous development.

The aim is to create coalitions for ‘the commons’, such as with governments, cooperatives, and social enterprises, which constitutes itself around the commons (code, opportunities, and knowledge), and contribute to this commons to which they are all co-dependent.

2. Software Source must be made available

The tragedy of the commons is a known challenge of the open-source development world.

While some shepherds bring their cattle to the commons land for grazing, some find it as an easy opportunity to sell the fodder in the market with no care for the land.

Developing software is hard work and no one particularly enjoys it when their technological invention gets into the hands of corporations who then get an edge in furthering the income divide. This is where the cause is lost. To avoid this from happening, Platform Commons License enforces 9 out of 10 Open Source critera and restricts Free Distribution; and replaces it with Source Available Software criteria, making the software freely available to those entities matching your vision.

3. Users & Data Subjects must own their data

The world’s most valuable tech companies profit from the data of its users and subjects. So why aren’t users and data subjects getting paid for it?

Respective stakeholders must own their data, simply because it’s theirs. And when people own data and not corporations, people decide whether they wish to donate, destroy, or sell their data as they see fit. A Software is judged by the number of users it reaches and people it impacts, and its success should not be defined by data it gathers.

Today, community organizations and governments want data and source code on their servers. Controlling, as well as Processing of data must reside with organizations who have the vision and can afford so. However, that would build many isolated platforms requiring to re-create its content, opportunities, workflows, knowledge, etc.

Platform Commons License encourages these software platforms to rather harness the knowledge and opportunities of these platform instances by forming a federation of platforms leading to richer Commons. This would also mean users and opportunities can discover each other independent of servers they reside in, thereby truly unlocking the network effects.

The Platform Commons License enforces each Instance to be a part of a Federation and each user to be a part of the Federated Commons Community.

5. Public Content from Public Money

Knowledge is as much a driver of the software as much as its code. Any content created using public money, government money or philanthropic money must be made available under Creative Commons license BY-NC-SA 2.0 or BY-NC-ND 4.0

The Platform Commons License enforces Content to be licensed under Creative Commons, Non Commercial.

License Deed
Platform Commons License

Last Updated: 2nd October 2020






  • License” shall mean the terms and conditions for use, reproduction, and distribution of Work, as defined in this document. 
  • Licensor” shall mean the copyright owner of the Work or entity authorized by the copyright owner that is granting the License. 
  • The Platform” refers to any copyrightable Work licensed under this Licence. 
  • Recipient” or “Legal Entity” shall mean the union of the acting entity and all other entities that control, are controlled by, or are under common control with that entity. For the purposes of this definition, “control” means (i) the power, direct or indirect, to cause the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding shares, or (iii) beneficial ownership of such entity. 
  • You” (or “Your“) shall mean an individual or Legal Entity exercising permissions granted by this License. 
  • Source” form shall mean the preferred form for making modifications, including but not limited to software source code, documentation source, and configuration files. 
  • Object” form shall mean any form resulting from mechanical transformation or translation of a Source form, including but not limited to compiled object code, generated documentation, and conversions to other media types. 
  • Work” shall mean the work of authorship, whether in Source or Object form, made available under the License, as indicated by a copyright notice that is included in or attached to the work. 
  • Derivative Works” shall mean any work, whether in Source or Object form, that is based on (or derived from) the Work and for which the editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications represent, as a whole, an original work of authorship. For the purposes of this License, Derivative Works shall not include works that remain separable from, or merely link (or bind by name) to the interfaces of, the Work and Derivative Works thereof. 
  • Contribution” shall mean any work of authorship, including the original version of the Work and any modifications or additions to that Work or Derivative Works thereof, that is intentionally submitted to Licensor for inclusion in the Work by the copyright owner or by an individual or Legal Entity authorized to submit on behalf of the copyright owner. For the purposes of this definition, “submitted” means any form of electronic, verbal, or written communication sent to the Licensor or its representatives, including but not limited to communication on electronic mailing lists, source code control systems, and issue tracking systems that are managed by, or on behalf of, the Licensor for the purpose of discussing and improving the Work, but excluding communication that is conspicuously marked or otherwise designated in writing by the copyright owner as “Not a Contribution.“ 
  • Contributor” shall mean any individual or Legal Entity on behalf of whom a Contribution has been received by Licensor and subsequently incorporated within the Work. 
  • User” shall mean user of any product or service built on the Platform who has login credentials to operate expected functions. 
  • Data Subject” shall mean any person who is registered on the Platform using any of its products or services. 
  • PCL-Enterprise User License” shall mean terms proposed by Platform Commons Foundation, licensed by You for a registered enterprise user in any country, enforced by the Processor, for leveraging Work or Derivative Works for fair usage of the software. 
  • PCL-End User Licence” shall mean terms proposed by Platform Commons Foundation, licensed by You for a individual user, or a person, enforced by the Processor in order to protect Users’ Privacy and Data, and establishing their relationship with enterprise users. 
  • The Platform” or “Platform” – The underline code, frameworks, workflows, rules, APIs, services, data layers, reporting and analytics logics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms, design and authored by You. 
  • Content” – The information and/or knowledge created by You, Your partners, customers, users or obtained from permitted publicly available sources or third party content providers and made available to Customers & Users through the Services. 
  • Instance or Platform Instance – An installation of the Work that offers one or more capabilities of the original platform. Each Instance is numbered and of the format “PlatformName.x”, where x is the unique number allocated by You to the Instance. 
  • Platform Federation – A Federation of Instances of “The Platform” whose membership into the Federation is managed by You or the Licensor via a Platform Instance registry. 
  • Commons Domain Network – A sub-network of Platforms Instances user the Commons Network, operating in the same domain or domains, as determined by the Domain entry or entries in the Licence. 
  • Intellectual Property Rights” – Any and all intellectual property or proprietary rights throughout the world, including all: (i) patent rights (including patent applications and disclosures); (ii) registered and unregistered copyrights (including rights in software, including in source code and object code); (iii) registered and unregistered trademark rights; and (iv) trade secret rights.

Grant of Copyright License

Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, the Licensor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, copyright license of the Platform to prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, license to enterprise users and end-users, for non-commercial purposes, with attribution and with an obligation to enforce PCL-Enterprise and PCL-User License to Enterprise and End Users respectively. All rights granted under this License are granted for the term of copyright on the Platform and are irrevocable provided the Licence terms are met. Violation of the Licence terms may result in revocation of the Licence.

Grant of Patent License

Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor of Platform hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, patent license. If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.


You cannot further distribute or sell the Platform, unless consented by the Licensor through a legal agreement. For clarity, You may provide the platform to users as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Use / Commercial Use of the Platform

You may distribute or sell the Work or Derivative Works only as Software as a Service (SaaS) mode thereof in any medium, with or without modifications, provided that You agree to terms of this license, including

You must notify the Enterprise and End Users of the Work or Derivative Works with a copy of this License; 

You must enforce the PCL-Enterprise and/or PCL User license; 

In the spirit of Copyfair terms and keeping in mind the purpose of the Platform, You are encouraged to keep the Platform free of charge, or near-free, for your primary beneficiaries for empowerment/benefit of whom You conceptualized the Platform and described in the notice of this license. You may charge a fee (or not) to any / all other platform stakeholders. For clarity, near-free is defined as one tenth of the fee of closest possible matching Platform available in the domestic market. 

You cannot sell, distribute, gift, donate or give away and Personally Identifiable Information or PII data under any circumstances. 

You agree that monetization of non PII data must only happen with (1) consent of the data owner and (2) playing the information back to the data owner in local language and in English through the Platform app or interface, Text Message or Email and (3) with mandatorily shared monetization of such data, such that a minimum of 80% of the monetization benefit goes to the data owner with-in 30 days of data being monetized through a direct bank transfer or issuance of cheque/DD in the name of the Data Owner.

Federation of Unified Platform

You agree to unite with the Federation, as named in notice of this LIcense, and comply to the Federation’s vision towards building an inclusive & sustainable society, with the knowledge that the power of a network is significantly greater than the power of an independent entity. By joining the Federation, You agree for Users, Networks, Content, Opportunities to be freely visible within the Federation, subject to privacy laws of the land. Users will also be able to conduct transactions with users of other Platform Instances in the Federation

User Identity and Mobility Terms

The Platform respects mobility and protects data of its Enterprise User, End Users and Data Subjects. You subscribe to “User Identity and Mobility Terms” for easy communication between Platforms.

Commons ID: Individual User Accounts, Data Subjects, and Enterprise Accounts are identified via a Commons ID, which is unique across all Platforms in the Universe. For easier integration, PCL provides Commons ID software component at Thus, this and all other Platforms licensed under PCL shall create a UUID, called Commons ID, and use it to identify persons with near certainty that there are no duplicates with one that has already been, or will be, before generating a new Commons ID. 

Data Wallet: Data Wallet stores User’s and Data Subject’s Personal Data and a copy of all the transactions one makes on the Platform, and remains in the custody of the entity under all circumstances. The Data Wallet is linked to Commons ID and allows the entity to freely move from one Platform Instance to another, if and when needed. 

Data Access and Data Portability: Users have the right to confirm with the Platform Instance through a human-readable click-wrap before signing-up on the platform. Users then may choose an Enterprise they wish to work with. Through the clickwrap, the Tenant Enterprise must provide the User with information about any processing, and the other parties with whom such personal data will be shared. Users have the right to port their personal data in a structured, commonly used, and machine-readable format so that they can transmit their own personal data to another organization or instance, if and when needed.

Users shall take consent from the Data Subjects before registering them on the Platform. Data Subjects will have same rights as Users and can claim so by registering on any Platform channel and setting up a password.

Right to Erasure: Also known as “the right to be forgotten,” this right empowers Users or Data Subject to request that a Tenant delete or remove their personal data in situations such as the following: when the data is no longer needed for the original purpose when the User withdraws consent, or when the User objects to the processing and the controller has no overriding legitimate interest in the processing. A User and Data Subject can request personal data be deleted from the controller through the lines of communication that the controller sets up to accept such requests.

Data Ownership and Data Usage Terms

You agree that Platform subscribes to, and Developers and Users agree to “Data Ownership and Data Use Terms of the Platform”.

  • For clarity, User and Data Subject will be the Owner of their personal Data and Data Wallet. Enterprise User will be the Data Controller and Platform Developer will be the Data Processor.
  • User’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII), or any data that could potentially identify a specific individual, shall be fully owned by respective users, irrespective of where or by whom the data is hosted. For clarity, the User’s PII is not owned by the app developer, Platform, Platform Instance, Enterprise Controller, Hosting agency, or Hosting sponsor. PII includes any information pertaining to the Users, including but not limited to user profile, phone number, email, photographs, skills, domains, interests, identifying documents etc. PII can be created, edited, or modified only by the User and Data Subject in question, or by request of User/Data Subject to the Controller. 
  • User’s Transactional and Tracking Data (UTTD) meaning data resulting from users using the platform, or persons and entities having their data captured by Platform users, belongs to such persons and entities. For clarity, such data is not owned by the app developer, Platform, Platform Instance, Enterprise Controller, Hosting agency, or Hosting sponsor. UTTD can be accessed by the Controller and Processor only with consent from the data owner and can be used for only the purpose for which consent was given. 
  • User’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII), is accessible only to the Controllers engaging Users on the Platform. The Controller has the right to reach out to associate Users & Data Subjects only to notify through phone, messages, or e-mail alerts of potential opportunities that may interest the Users & Data Subjects. The respective Party sending the notification shall be the Controller of such notifications and acknowledges that its use of the services will not violate the rights of any Users & Data Subjects that have opted-out from sales or other disclosures of Personal Data, to the extent applicable under the law. 
  • The Platform enforces PCL-Enterprise and PCL-User is executed with respective Users, which ensures protection of User rights and fair use of Platform Instance. Users have the right to accept or reject the Agreements or Click-wraps. 
  • You acknowledge that the User has the right to subscribe to any Platform Instance and thereby any controller on the Federation. Users have the right to port their Personal Data Wallet in a structured, commonly used, and machine-readable format so that they can transfer their own personal data to another Instance. 
  • You agree that any sharing of UTTD in their raw or aggregate form, or sharing of any computed information out of such data can only happen with the consent of the data owner. You agree that monetization of such data may only happen with the consent of the data owner, and with mandatorily shared monetization of such data, such that a minimum of 80% of the monetization benefit goes to the data owner. 
  • You will take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safeguarding of Data and will be held liable for loss of any Data, not including reasons beyond Your control like strike, riots, civil unrest, Govt. policies, tampering of data by unauthorized persons like hackers, war and natural calamities.

Submission of Contributions

You must contribute Modifications, Changes, and New Developments to the Work or the Platform. Any Contribution submitted for inclusion in the Work by You to the Licensor shall be under the terms and conditions of this Licence. You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices stating that You changed the files; and You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative Works; before Submitting. You may add Your own copyright statement to Your modifications and may provide additional or different license terms and conditions for use, reproduction, or distribution of Your modifications, or for any such Derivative Works as a whole, provided Your use, reproduction, and distribution of the Work otherwise complies with the conditions stated in this License.

Use of Registered or Unregistered Trademarks

This License does not grant permission to use the trade names, trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of the Work. For clarity, You don’t own any registered or unregistered trademark, brand, product or solution name created by the Platform, You have the right to use products, solutions, marks and trademarks on as-is basis by providing the User an option to choose Your Instance. In such a case, You must Submit the Contribution to support the specific feature.

Disclaimer of Warranty

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, Licensor provides the Work (and each Contributor provides its Contributions) on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. You are solely responsible for determining the appropriateness of using the Work and assume any risks associated with Your exercise of permissions under this License.

Limitation of Liability

In no event and under no legal theory, whether in tort (including negligence), contract, or otherwise, unless required by applicable law (such as deliberate and grossly negligent acts) or agreed to in writing, shall the Licensor or any of its Contributor be liable to You for damages, including any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising as a result of this License or out of the use or inability to use the Work (including but not limited to damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and all other commercial damages or losses), even if such Contributor has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

For clarity, You acknowledge Your role as a Processor, Licensor and Controller of the software which is provided on as-is basis, and has verified its fitment to business needs. You are solely responsible for any unintended consequences and indemnifies Foundation and its Contributors for any damages or legal obligations.

Accepting Warranty and Additional Liability

For usage of the Work or Derivative Works thereof, You may choose to offer, and charge a fee for, acceptance of support, warranty, indemnity, or other liability obligations and/or rights consistent with this License to Your Enterprise Users or End Users. However, in accepting such obligations, You may act only on Your own behalf and on Your sole responsibility, not on behalf of the Licensor or any other Contributor, and only if You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold the Licensor and each Contributor harmless for any liability incurred by, or claims asserted against, such Contributor by reason of your accepting any such warranty or additional liability.

Governance and Administration

You have the right and the obligation to govern and administer Your Users, and adhere to Interoperability Standards for Network to operate smoothly, inter alia.

  • Maintain any change-logs and publish an annual self-audit report. And be audit-ready.
  • Adhere to Master Data.
  • Maintain standards for Products & Services – includes, product, project and service specifications, quality standards, recommended price points, etc.
  • Ensuring Users comply with the defined standards.
  • Resolve grievances of Users.
  • Where applicable, conduct audits to ensure that Users comply with the platform rules.


The PCL License holds suspended provisionally on occurance of any of the below events, leading to permanent termination from date proven true.

  1. Formal acknowledgment from PCF in response to the submission of violation of license terms in writing to, reported by a legitimate user, data subject, tech journalist, competent lawyer, or media house, including reference to the specific term being violated by the party with reasonable evidence.
  2. Upon completion of 7 silent calendar days from notifying the Platform Instance Owner via a publicized contact channel about a breach of privacy, breach of data security, or a fraudulent transaction by a legitimate User or Data Subject.

Any attempt to redistribute Platform Code as-is or modified before redistrubuting will automatically terminate your rights under this License.

Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate the licenses of parties who have received rights from you under this License. If your rights have been terminated and not permanently reinstated, you do not qualify to pursue business using the Platform as usual or receive new license versions. Parties using the Platform will have an option to choose an alternate Platform Instance or opt-out of services in 90 days of termination.

Revised Versions of this License

The Platform Commons Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the Platform Commons License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns.

Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If You wish, you may choose the latest version number, or specify a version number you liked and is not the latest. You may as well specify a PCL version number that applies along with “or any later version” for auto up-gradation. If the software does not specify a version number of PCL, the latest becomes implicit.

Later license versions may give you additional or different permissions. However, no additional obligations are imposed on any author or copyright holder as a result of your choosing to follow a later version.

Other Salient Terms

The Platform Author is obliged to do the below:

  • Create a Named Federation and notify Instances and Users of their participation.
  • Adhere to User Identity and Mobility Terms
  • Adhere to Data Ownership and Data Usage Terms
  • Contribute Modifications, Changes, and New Developments to the Work to the Licensor
  • Maintain changelogs, self-audit and be audit-ready for all the Modifications, Changes, and New Developments to the Work or the Platform
  • Enforce PCL-Enterprise and PCL User License terms
  • Provide Credits to the License in its source code
  • Govern Users and Transactions on the Platform 

    The Platform Author is not obliged to do the below, but can do if so desire:
  • Can charge stakeholders benefitting from the Platform
  • Can allow usage of any registered or unregistered trademarks, brand, product, or solution names to an instance
  • Can accept Warranty or Liability for the usage of Work or Derivative of Work, for a fee, not holding its Contributors liable

    The Platform Author is restricted from doing the below:
  • Cannot charge the primary beneficiaries, for which the Platform was conceptualized, at market rates
  • Cannot distribute the default applications made available with The Platform under the same name as the default applications. For the avoidance of doubt, Instances can modify and distribute the default applications under new names under SaaS terms.
  • Cannot name the Platform as, ‘The Commons Platform’, or ‘The Commons’, or ‘Commons’, or ‘Platform Commons’, and any other name that might confuse the public with the reference platform offered by Platform Commons Foundation
  • Cannot claim its Contributors any Warranty or Conditions of any kind
  • Cannot claim its Contributors any liability for any direct or indirect damages

Governing Law & Disputes

This License shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of India, excluding its conflict of law rules. Any dispute, claim or controversy arising out to or relating to this License or the breach, termination, enforcement, interpretation, or validity thereof, including the determination of the scope or applicability of this Agreement to arbitrate, shall be referred to and finally determined by arbitration administered by the latest International Chamber of Commerce Rules, in English, with Venue in Bangalore. This clause shall not preclude parties from seeking provisional remedies in aid of arbitration from a court of appropriate jurisdiction.

How to apply these terms to your Software

To License your software under Platform Commons License, attach the following notice to the software. It is safe to attach to the start of each source file.

<Platform Name>, for <Primary Beneficiary>
<A a brief idea of what it does>
<Federation Name>

<Year>, <Author>

This software is for the Commons: Licensed under the terms of Platform Commons License as published by the Platform Commons Foundation, version x of the License, (or any later version).

This software is published in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Redistribution or selling this software for commercial gains is not permissible, however permissible in the SaaS model.

See the Platform Commons License for more details. You should have received a copy of the Platform Commons License along with this program. If not, see