I am setting up an "open" source project. The source code is available for educational and personal use and modification but not for selling or redistribution.
In this project, I expect that many individuals will contribute code. The code can measured and a ranking of the top 10 contributors can be generated.
The project will have a revenue through ads. I want to do two things with this revenue:
- If there are money and the project is making a profit, to split the money proportionally based on the ranking of contributors.
- If there are no money, then no pay to anyone.
Conceptually, I believe I can give the money I make from ads to anyone I please (after taxes have been paid through 1099). What I don't know is how this transaction (exchange of money) is classified.
Is it a donation? Are the contributors volunteers that may end up getting paid or not? Or are they contractors that do the work with hopes that they may get paid but understanding that this is contingent on ad profits. Have there been historically contractors that did the work but expected pay only when a project succeeded?