Own your software!

BuyLibre is a marketplace for cage-free, fair-trade software.

Software is cage free when: the work may be used for any purpose in any field of endeavor; users may have the work changed as they wish by anyone they wish; and users have transparency as to their software’s operation.

Software is fair trade when: the work's unit price approaches zero as it is broadly adopted; pricing is not discriminatory; costs are shared equitably; developers can request market compensation for their efforts; and developers may improve works made by others.

BuyLibre operates an on-line store having cooperatively owned software. BuyLibre acquires creative works from developers in exchange for a revenue sharing contract that names a per-unit price and a total community cost. When combined purchases of a work reach the total community cost, such that the developer is fully compensated, additional sales equitably reward earlier adopters with a rebate. With further sales, the per-unit price is reduced until the work becomes free of charge and is released under a permissive open source license.

Choose your own Upgrades!

BuyLibre provides a free market for the change of software.

Acquired works are made available to competing developers so that users could, if they wish, switch vendors without abandoning their investment. With compositional pricing, where the purchase of each work bundles payments for its dependencies, developers have a cooperative framework with ample revenue opportunity. Subject to market demand, users have competitive upgrade options for the evolution of the software they have invested in and become dependent upon.

BuyLibre offers a sustainable business model for software developers. BuyLibre differs from free software in a practical way: we assert that software need not be free of charge (gratis) so long as key user freedoms (libre) are held central. That said, BuyLibre software differs from proprietary licensed software since users are not beholden to a given vendor for support or upgrades. In this licensing alternative, developers earn a return on their investment when users collectively purchase shares in the cooperatively owned works that they have contributed.

User Owned Market

BuyLibre is democratically controlled by its stakeholders.

The BuyLibre Cooperative is operated for the benefit of its stakeholders, developers and users of software. BuyLibre covers its operational costs with a percentage fee on sales; profits beyond growth needs are disbursed to buyers based on their patronage. BuyLibre does not participate in the market it administers and promises equal treatment to all buyers and sellers. Employees of the cooperative are paid at market rates for their service. BuyLibre has no equity stake holders.

BuyLibre is still being formed, if you are interested in participating please email info at buylibre.org. I've given several talks and presentations on BuyLibre:

In early 2020, an updated version of this idea was written up and is available at https://creators.coop.