A Word on Licensing



Sometimes I get emails with questions about how our license works, and also why we chose the AGPL. I’m happy to discuss this if anyone has questions. I think there are some common misconceptions about the AGPL / commercial option.

Why the AGPL?

All Numenta codebases containing patented works are licensed AGPLv3, which means you may use it in almost any way you want as long as any code you write using it is also AGPLv3. This helps keep new innovations open to the community and allows Numenta to perform open research of new theory and implementations in a transparent way. You may build commercial applications under the AGPL.

HTM is both a discovery and an ongoing investigation. We realize that the idea of HTM is bigger than one person or company. Numenta chose the AGPL as a way to ensure its accessibility to a broader audience and allow ourselves and outside parties to perform research and development atop core theory. We at Numenta believe that HTM will be a foundational technology, thus important enough to share. We are also a privately-funded organization with a significant investment in this technology. The AGPL allows us to develop and share HTM while opening an avenue for monetization via commercial licenses.

Opting out

If the terms of the AGPL are too strict and you would like to keep your codebases proprietary, you may contact Numenta about our simple commercial license options. We aim to make licensing easy and cheap for new businesses.

Not All AGPL

All Numenta codebases that do not contain patented works are licensed using other non-restrictive licenses like MIT.

Predicting stock directionality with NuPIC and Aqua

@rhyolight what’s Numentas position regarding code derived from the HTM research papers and not from Numentas projects?

For instance, assuming /github.com/calclavia/htm-tensorflow/ was based only under the HTM paper (I’m asking under /github.com/calclavia/htm-tensorflow/issues/3), can the author assign whichever license they find appropriate?

The HTM paper contains this statement…

“The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. JH, SA, and YC were employed by Numenta Inc. Numenta has some patents relevant to the work. Numenta has stated that use of its intellectual property, including all the ideas contained in this work, is free for non-commercial research purposes. In addition Numenta has released all pertinent source code as open source under a GPL V3 license (which includes a patent pesubjectovision).”

It would be my understanding that the research papers are NOT subjet to AGPL licensing since they were “conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships”, correct?

Thank you, Matt.


You can license this code however you want, since you are the author and you own the copyright on the code. However, I would encourage you to put a clear notice in the README stating the codebase implements HTM, which is the intellectual property of Numenta, Inc.


Great, this makes a lot of sense.

For others reading this thread, I would also read Numentas position on patents: /numenta.org/blog/2013/07/01/patent-position/. My understanding is that the intellectual property is being held by Numenta to protect the HTM Community, which would help protect contributions in this space.

I’m a fan of the work Numenta is doing. Thank you, Matt.