How we pay maintainers

Tidelift pays maintainers income based on a number of factors, including subscriber usage and strategic importance of a package to the overall health and resilience of the open source software supply chain. We call maintainer partners “lifters” and refer to this work as “lifting” a package.

To calculate income based on subscriber usage, we analyze each of the software bills of materials (SBOMs) our customers have uploaded and distribute income to maintainers based on the projects subscribers use.

How we pay our maintainer partners for subscriber usage

  1. On the third business day of the month, we analyze the uploaded SBOMs for all of our subscriptions for the preceding month to allocate the income for packages they use.
  2. If any package is being maintained by multiple maintainers, that income is further split according to the allocation those maintainers have agreed to. Similarly, if a maintainer has agreed to lift more than one package, we combine the income from those packages into a single payment, and itemize the amount for each package on the receipt.
  3. Finally, we send each maintainer’s share of income to their virtual wallet via our payments partner.

How we compute how much to pay

There are two main factors in how we compute this income:

  • Subscriber usage Packages receive income based on how many subscribers use their package, and how widely it is used within their organizations. More subscribers using the package means more money!
  • Weight A package containing a large framework gets a larger share than one containing a 2-line function. Currently, the weight is based primarily on code size with some adjustments. If we tweak our weightings in the future, we'll strive to do so in a way that avoids radically changing existing income levels.

Where we send the money

Tidelift can pay individuals as well as organizations—for-profit, such as your consultancy, or nonprofit, such as the foundation your project belongs to. So long as we have a signed agreement with the party receiving the funds, we can pay it.

If a package has multiple co-maintainers, you'll need to agree as a group on an approach. By default, the first maintainer for a package configures the bank account for 100% of the package's earnings, but on request we can split it up among co-maintainers or move bank account responsibility to a different maintainer.

For example if you have two co-maintainers who want to split up earnings equally, let us know (via email to lift@tidelift.com) and we'll configure your package such that each co-maintainer's configured Hyperwallet wallet receives 50% of earnings. (Each maintainer will have to sign the lifter agreement.)

On the last business day of the month, we snapshot subscriber usage and lifter status and begin the process of computing payments. We send payments on the third business day of the next month.


How does Tidelift comply with US sanction requirements?

In order to help us comply with US law, our payments processor actively monitors high-risk, restricted, and prohibited country lists against criteria from our regulators daily. Any countries or banks that have been sanctioned will be blocked from accessing funds, and we will promptly notify affected lifters. In addition, in some circumstances, countries may be blocked from accessing our web services.

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