License FAQ

We understand there are some questions regarding the PubNub SDK license. Read on to find the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

License questions and concerns

Tis FAQ is meant to provide an overview of the changes to the SDK license. For any specific concerns or questions about your usage under this updated license, you may reach out to the PubNub support team at

Why is PubNub changing the SDK license from MIT to a custom MIT license with an anti-competition clause?

PubNub wants to ensure that our SDK code remains freely available to users who are actively using the PubNub platform. The anti-competition clause is introduced to prevent misuse of the SDK code by third parties who may seek to compete with PubNub and use the PubNub provided SDK code in order to sell their competitor platform, product or services.

What does the anti-competition clause entail?

The anti-competition clause stipulates that the SDK code may not be used to create or enhance any services, products, or platforms that do not use the PubNub platform. This is intended to protect the integrity and sustainability of PubNub.

What is “competitive” under the custom license?

A product or service “competitive” with PubNub is a product or service that is sold to third parties that significantly overlaps the capabilities of PubNub product and services. Under the PubNub SDK custom MIT license, this includes embedding the source code or executable code from a PubNub product or service in a competitive version of the PubNub product or service. It also means packaging the competitive product in such a way that the PubNub product or service must be accessed or downloaded for the competitive product to operate.

For example, if you were to use the PubNub SDKs with your own in house publish and subscribe system, or were to recode them to use another backend service this would be considered using a “competitive” service.

How does the new custom MIT license with the anti-competition clause affect me as a current PubNub customer?

As a current PubNub customer who is using the PubNub platform, this change will not have any impact on you, so long as you are not using PubNub SDKs in competition with PubNub. You can continue using the SDK code as you have been before, for internal or personal use.

What are the implications of this change for Customer’s end users of PubNub’s open source products?

There is no change for PubNub customers’ end users who are using PubNub’s current open source products and new releases using the custom MIT license so long as the terms of the license are met, (i.e., not competitive).

What if I am using the SDK code for a non-competitive project, but later leave PubNub for a competing platform?

The key factor is the current use of the SDK code. If you are using the SDK for non-competitive purposes when this change is implemented, you are still compliant with the license. However, if you change the SDK code to use a different platform, the anti-competition clause would come into effect, and you would be subject to the licensing restrictions.

Can I obtain a license without the anti-competition clause for non-competitive use cases?

As of the change, the custom MIT license with the anti-competition clause is the standard license for the SDK code. If this is an issue for your company, and you have or are negotiating a PubNub contract, please contact your account representative to discuss an exemption with our legal team.

What should I do if I am uncertain about whether my use case falls under the anti-competition clause?

If you have concerns or questions about the applicability of the anti-competition clause to your specific use case, we recommend contacting your account representative for clarification.

What happens if I violate the anti-competition clause of the custom MIT license?

Violating the anti-competition clause may result in legal action or the termination of your licensing agreement. PubNub reserves the right to take appropriate measures to enforce the terms of the license.

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