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OSI Approves Three New Licenses 102

Russ Nelson writes: "In our monthly board meeting this past Wednesday, the Open Source Initiative approved three new licenses for use with OSI Certified Open Source Software: the W3C license, the Motosoto license, and the Open Group Test Suite License. In other action, one license was voted down because it violated the discrimination clause of the Open Source Definition. Another (the RTSP) was withdrawn because the license-discuss mailing list convinced the submittor that it wasn't ready. And one (the DSPL) goes back to license-discuss because we disagree with their analysis and want to re-negotiate it with them. Several people have suggested that we post the licenses that we have turned down, and explain just why they don't comply with the Open Source Definition. We don't want to discourage people from submitting licenses, knowing that their license might be held up for public notice. We'd rather encourage people with non-compliant licenses to fix them so they are compliant."
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OSI Approves Three New Licenses

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  • Too Many Already (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BurritoWarrior ( 90481 ) on Sunday November 04, 2001 @11:36AM (#2518725)
    If anything will be the downfall of OSS, it is the multitude of licenses. It will cost companies too much in attorney's fees to be worth their trouble. How many licenses do we need?
    • We only NEED one. Good luck trying to get everyone to agree on one!
      • by julesh ( 229690 )
        Well, if there can only be one license, it would have to be BSD (or something similar), because it allows more freedom with the way you can use the code than the GPL does.

        Sorry everyone - your favourite license just became redundant ;-)
        • > Well, if there can only be one license, it would have to be BSD (or something similar), because it allows more freedom with the way you can use the code than the GPL does.

          That's exactly why BSD is less plausible than GPL as a stable one-and-only license.
          In a world full of BSD code, you have the freedom to reuse it under a commercial or other non-BSD licence, and someone almost certainly will (and if they won't, why do you care about the freedom to do so?). In a world full of GPL code, you can only reuse it under GPL, so any non-GPL project has to start entirely from scratch.
    • I suppose if the license is concise enough to grab the general idea why the author felt compeled to ask for unique conditions, its not evil.

      Unless of course, the license is beyond casual reading and does not require many hours of a legal team to imagine the implications of the many possible hypothetical special circumstances that always arise.

      That said, its always nice to see an old, well proven license when untarring a package.
    • by treat ( 84622 ) on Sunday November 04, 2001 @12:16PM (#2518806)
      Commercial software has a different license for every different product and every different version. In my experience, companies never have their legal department review a license before purchasing software.
    • Yes everybody and his dog now wants his own pet licence ! this poses licence compatibility, and makes every project isolated in it's own galaxy, it withdraws a lot of the benefices of Open Source where many projects share their source too.

      Soon we will have a kind an open source Babel tower where every project has it's own licence but communicate with others. Talk about an oxymoron
    • Why is this rated as insightful? What insights does it provide? Companies use software all the time without spending enormous amounts on attorney fees to review the licenses under which the software is released. How does BurritoWarrior explain that?

      I doubt seriously that licensing concerns will be the "downfall" of OSS. For one thing, once an open source software package is out there, it's out there. There's pretty much no going back. Even if the original author rescinds the license for a later version, the code that has been released can form the basis for a different fork.

      I think people should not overlook the fact that the backbone of this wonderful thing we call the Internet runs on a heck of a lot of open source software: bind, apache, sendmail, .... OSS is holding up just fine, thanks. I doubt that will ever change.
  • Maybe there could be a way that people could be asked if their licenses could be posted. After all, it would be nice to see what traps some licenses fall into when trying to modify an existing license to fit the OSD.
  • ...to the Motosoto license doesn't work.

    At least, it didn't for me.

  • try this: Motosoto Community [motosoto.org]
  • More open licences give more freedom, in the sense
    that developers have a greater choice over which freedoms they want to give and which they wish to keep.

    Not everyone agrees with RMS's philosophy, so we
    need alternatives.
    Although IMHO the GPL is the best licence out there.
  • Links (Score:2, Troll)

    Here is a working link to the Motosoto liscense: http://www.motosoto.org/ARCHIVES/0/1/mosl.html [motosoto.org]

    Here is a link to the current list of OSI liscenses: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html [gnu.org]
    • Here is the actual link [opensource.org] to currently approved OSI licenses: http://opensource.org/licenses/index.html

  • by Krapangor ( 533950 ) on Sunday November 04, 2001 @11:50AM (#2518753) Homepage
    Open source means that you open up your intelectual property so that other can use it without fees and add their own contribution.
    That's exactly what's happening here:
    People take the sources of other peoples open source licences, modify them and redistribute them without having to pay any silly license fees.
    So, you see the great sucess of open source here: many different licenses exist now and compete with each other and all time new licenses are created.
    Some people might say now this is bad because there might be holes which evil guys can abuse, but because the license is open at once a new license is created without the hole and evil men have no chance !!!

    So don't believe Microsoft with their evil anti-open source FUD: nobody uses the MS licenses beside MS themselves anymore, because they are closed and they will fail. Soon all licenses will be open source licenses because that's the only licenses people can fit to their needs wihtout paying big bucks !
    And laywers can still make money just be providing advice for the licenses without needing to charge fees for the original licenses !!!
  • Has anyone done a comparison of all these OSLs (similar to diff)? I'd be curious to see the results. (Might also help others trying to make sense of all these licenses too)

    Perhaps what we are seeing here, is not YAOSL, but rather, the license itself being rewritten in the only medium offered to it... re-release with changes, under a new name.

    Just a thought...
  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Sunday November 04, 2001 @11:56AM (#2518772) Journal
    Several people have suggested that we post the licenses that we have turned down, and explain just why they don't comply with the Open Source Definition. We don't want to discourage people from submitting licenses, knowing that their license might be held up for public notice.

    Why not hold them up to public inspection, show why a license was turned down, and what the implications of the offending clauses were. If they archive the communications with the license authors, it may be usefull to show what the real intent of the authors was down the road in case of disputes. In a world where the shrink-wrapped you gotta agree to it before you even see it license reins supreme, I'd find this refreshing

    • I for one, as the author of the DSPL, the license that is going back for further discussion, would love to hear what slashdot people think about it. I can't comment on the others, but it is rather a departure from the traditional open source license...
      • well, they can refrain from posting the licenses so that the community does not flame the companies. But what is stopping you from showing us your license?
      • I for one, as the author of the DSPL, the license that is going back for further discussion, would love to hear what slashdot people think about it. I can't comment on the others, but it is rather a departure from the traditional open source license...

        Well, the whole executive committee and merit share holders thing gave the impression of over complexity to me and I doubt it'll be used widely, but I think that scheme is the heart of the licence so I'm sure you want to keep it :)

        One particular point was it seemed to revolve around having elections for every public release of the software, so far as I could see this would mean holding elections for every bug fix. I'm probably reading it too strictly but then there doesn't seem much point in a (quite substantial) written licence unless it's expected to be strictly adhered to.

        Is the thing about not being allowed to charge for the software itself important? If I understand correctly you mean I couldn't say "I will charge you $100 for this software" but I could say "I will charge you $100 for making a copy of this software for you" or something like that. If I've got that right, what's achieved by this and would you really want to be in the position of policing it?

        The GPL's approach of letting people charge what they want seems to have much the same practical effect given than market forces will bring down the price of freely redistributable software unless you can add some extra value.

        I'm not sure it's a good idea to include your interpretation of patent laws:

        "While it is not in general illegal to produce or distribute software such as this that uses patented methods, it may be illegal to use such software for any purposes other than 'private experimentation'."

        You might be right, I don't know, but I can't see you need to say it in the software licence just include the part about it being their responsibility to comply with the law. I don't know from reading it whether you were thinking of a particular jurisdiction (the USA maybe?) or all countries signed up to particular treaties or what. Stating what the law is "in general" in a licence that presumably may be used internationally doesn't seem like a good idea to me. You may be inadvertently misleading some people.

        I think the part about being able to make derivatives licensed under the GPL was good, given the state of the "market" it seems good to me to allow redistribution under one of the leading licences but then I like the GPL and I expect some will disagree :)

        Something I did find odd was that after specifying that derivatives could be under DSPL or GPL it then talks about pre-release versions being under a licence that prohibits further distribution, but with no real limits on what that licence might otherwise say - should this only be valid for a limited period or something?

        I'm not sure on the effectiveness of the final clause about using the software as a library. So far as I can see you can take software not released as a library, adapt it so it is now a library, release that library yourself under the DSPL and then link to it in exactly the way that (it seems to me) you're trying to prohibit.

        Okay, that was just a series of thoughts probably not entirely coherent that occurred to me as I read throught it. I hope I haven't sounded too negative, I guess I was looking for problems :) and I haven't spent hours poring over it of course so things I've seen as potential problems may be addressed better than I took in.

        Good luck with your licence.
    • Showing the failed licenses would discourge companies from submitting their licenses. You can see how some people here harass people/companies that they do not agree with.

      A company that submits a license should not have to worry about getting flooded with flames since their license did not pass..

    • Aren't licenses for software commonly open to public viewing on the website and/or package of the product/software anyway? Whats the big deal of showing off the licenses which dont comply?
  • by Ridge2001 ( 306010 ) on Sunday November 04, 2001 @12:11PM (#2518796)
    The Open Group Test Suite License states the following:

    You may charge a reasonable copying fee for any distribution of this Package ... You may not charge a fee for this Package itself.

    The FSF's definition of Free Software requires that "A free program must be available for commercial use". [gnu.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward
      If you didnt understand this so is it like this:

      Open Source Software != Free Software
    • The clause used in that license is the same as the one used in the Artistic License. A "reasonable copying fee" could, in reality be an "outrageous copying fee" or more commonly the software can be bundled with something else for which you charge a "ludicrous proprietary fee".

      So in this regard it's essentially the same as the Artistic License. I would criticize them for lifting material from the AL, possibly the most vague, unprofessional, IANAL license of all time.

      ObSuicide: CmdrTaco is a big fat penis, I spit on /., the streets will run red with the blood of chickens. Why chickens? Because VA Chicken Processing just opened a new plant there and agreed to give everybody free chickens. They expect profitability by 2008.
    • I can remember when shareware programs were very prominent, which was especially during the time when dial-up computer bulletin boards were around.

      I'm not sure if there was any "official" standard licence, but nearly every shareware author included a licence stating that you could charge for distribution costs of the program, but not for the program itself. Usually this was placed on a shareware version of the program, and anyone wanting the full version would send money to the author or (on the later days) a publishing company.

      The thing is that even with this licence, there were still companies that made money - completely legitimately - through distributing shareware programs. Simtel [simtel.com] and various others made CD's full of thousands of shareware programs, an application gold mine at the time, that people could buy in shops for $30. They were really popular for BBS system operators.

      There was at least one other company near where I am that was packaging up shareware programs into sleek plastic satchels, and marketing them under their distribution brand in all the computer shops for about $10 each. It was completely legal because they were charging for the the time and effort they'd put into the packaging and distribution.

      So in answer to your question about whether that clause in the OTSL prevents programs being available for commercial re-selling, the answer is no it doesn't. It's completely possible for commercial entities to re-sell it. Of course, companies could use it commercially anyway without trying to sell it, and the clause you've highlighted doesn't talk about that at all. I'm not sure how you think any inability to sell the code prevents it from being used commercially. Just because they're not allowed to sell someone's effort doesn't mean they can't use it for their business to make money.

  • We don't want to discourage people from submitting licenses, knowing that their license might be held up for public notice.

    This depends on the attitude with which it is presented, doesn't it? Compare: "These proprietary wannabes tried to muscle in with the following restrictions" with "We felt the OSI model and the requirements imposed by these business plans were incompatible in the following points"

    Sure, there's *always* trolls who take offense at business plans on some misguided principle, but anyone who counts will take it as it's meant: a simple lesson in OSI compatibility.

  • wtf was wrong with just marking it 'freeware'?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      wtf was wrong with just marking it 'freeware'?

      Ermmm... well in general I think that it would be a very bad idea to mark your software as freeware unless it was in fact freeware. These licences are for people who want their software to be licenced under the terms of the licence, not effectively put them into the public domain. It seems rather obvious to be saying that but I guess you were missing it.
    • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Sunday November 04, 2001 @01:38PM (#2519013)
      "freeware" is a blanket term that usually refers to any program in binary form or source code that is given away. In other words the "free" in "freeware" means free-as-in-beer, or stuff you don't pay for. For that reason it is extremely general and nonspecific. Both "Open Source" and "Free Software" are much more specific than "freeware". These days, the word freeware has come mostly to refer to software that is available for free in executable binary format only and is closed source.
  • Just to clarify: The Motosoto license is different from the Monsanto license. The biotech giant will sue you for growing crops using their patented genes, even if the genes got into your crops because of cross-contamination from neighbors fields [cropchoice.com]. Even if you don't want to grow genetically modified crops, and you don't use roundup (a monsanto herbicide - their plants have genes that make them resistant to this, so you can spray it indiscriminately and kill only weeds), they still sue. More monsanto info. [purefood.org]

    It's almost as if the people behind nimda demanded money from you for running their copyrighted software! The sad thing, this is a very good comparison. Genetically modified organic crops are worth much less than pure organic.
    • or the Monsanto/Microsoft License:

      all your crops will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
    • not off-topic.

      Yeah, originally I was going for funny. But, despite being about agriculture, this is definitely on-topic. It's a contrast to the "good" licenses discussed above, and how companies can use their patents to force compliance with these licenses even to people who don't want to. If you care about software licenses, you should be interested in biotechnology licenses (both are concerned with protecting IP). While the GPL and its ilk are accused of being viral, here's an example of a license that literally is. Farmers face a terrible plight -- inability to control what they plant and who they buy it from -- and I hope to god that it never comes to computers. How is this possible, you say? Well, I gave you start -- virii -- so start the discussion! Is there some patented technology that will become essential for interoperability (like GIFs, but moreso)? Will passport become necessary to conduct transactions over the web? In the slashdot tradition, go ahead and add your favorite ms conspiracy theory.

      And before modding down a seemingly unrelated post down, remember that cross-fertilization (no pun intented!) from other disciplines is an amazing tool to understand something about the topic at hand.

      p.s. not to harp on farming, but I thought that the Autonomic Computing [slashdot.org] article made good use of cross-disciplinary comparisons in its whitepaper [ibm.com].

      end rant; it wasn't about karma.
  • This big building with three large black neon letters in the topleft corner: 'O', 'S', 'I'. The 'S' is blinking, the other two are out. The camera zooms in and moves focus to one of the building windows. It's thick with dust, so we only get a vague view on the inside.

    And inside, there's a table with 1 cm of dust on it. Around this table are some chairs. Just as many mummies are sitting upon these chairs with their heads on the table, spider rags going from their heads to the table and back again.

    Then suddenly one of these heads rises. A low, low voice speaks.

    "Guys, people haven't really heard from us lately. Let's approve some licenses, or something."

    The other mummy heads also rise from the table. Mumbling. "Yeah, good idea."

    ;-)
  • What should happen if OSI software supports plugins (note patented software is just a special case of this) and external scripting languages which themselves are not OSI? You cannot insist that they follow the same licensing. Take a look at GE Medical which embeds Tcl/TK within their medical instruments. I doubt whether they will kindly open up their IP.

    Also if the software goes kaput (or bought out) for any reason, what should the contrib community code licensing do (considering the legal entity holding the original OSI does not exist). If I was a Gate-2.0 I would conceive of an ingeneous bait and switch tactic where the original stuff was OSI but then deliberately strangle the legal holder and change the terms of the now rootless software as individuals with forks won't have the resources to compete.
  • Synopsys License? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Recently I attended a forum on interoperability of EDA (electronic design automation) tools that was hosted by Synopsys (one of the big companies in that field) at which Bruce Perens gave the keynote speech. They seemed to be rather enthusiastic about open source, and have released certain data formats (and supporting code) under a so-called open source license. I've read this license and it seems to be pretty good, but I'm not an expert in licensing. I was hoping to see if OSI had anything to say about it, but the Synopsys license doesn't seem to be on their "approved" list. Is this because it hasn't been evaluated yet, or because it's been rejected? I tried looking at the archived mailing list, but there was no search function and I didn't feel like navigating through months of archives.

    If anyone from OSI (esp Bruce) is reading this, I'd be ever so pleased if you could respond. Thanks.
  • How can I submit my license. It's a cross between the GPL and BSD license, although it's not compatible with either. It also suffers from fewer loopholes than the GPL. Here goes:

    Copying, distribution, and use of this work is permitted without restriction. Creation of derivitive works is permitted provided that you cause any such work to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

    Any comments? Anyone see any potential loopholes?

    • you are free to use this source code as long as you give away whatever you use it to create. it's a fine licence, just don't call it free.
    • Maybe remove the "all third parties" bit?
      It brings up the question of who the first and second parties are. If the first party is the originating author and the second party is the creator of the derivative work the the creator of the derivative work could presumably licence it to the originating author under any licence.

      Maybe.
      • I "borrowed" that terminology from the GPL. The idea is that you must license the derivitive work to everyone, this is in place so that you can't say that the third party obtained the work without your permission, and therefore was not given a license. I guess I could say "everyone" but whatever lawyer-people looked over the GPL seemed to like "all third parties". IANAL, though, so I'm not sure...

        If the first party is the originating author and the second party is the creator of the derivative work the the creator of the derivative work could presumably licence it to the originating author under any licence.

        Just as with the GPL, the creator of the derivative work can license it to anyone under any license, as long as s/he also licenses it under the "whatever I call my license". If s/he licenses it under a more restricive license, this license would still give those additional freedoms for the derivitive. If s/he licenses it under a less restrictive license, this license would still apply in most cases to a derivitive of the derivitive, since that in itself would usually be a derivitive. It might not be a derivitive if it only modifies the modifications, but in that case there is nothing copyright law (notwithstanding state EULA laws) can do anyway.

        • Just as with the GPL, the creator of the derivative work can license it to anyone under any license, as long as s/he also licenses it under the "whatever I call my license"

          All derivatives of GPL'd works must be licensed under the GPL exclusively.
          • All derivatives of GPL'd works must be licensed under the GPL exclusively.

            Where does the GPL state this? I don't even see the work exclusive or exclusively in the GPL. How can you explain mozilla code being licensed under multiple licenses?

            Perhaps you are misunderstanding me. I am not saying that licensing a derivitive work under a non-GPL license gives anyone any extra priviliges, but that is only because copying or distribution of the derivitive work almost always constitutes a direct infringement of the original work.

            The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

            U.S. Code Title 17, Section 103(b). Are you telling me that the copyright holder of a derivitive work is not allowed to license his own work under any license he wishes? Not only does he have that right, he exclusively has that right. Now, he is restricted under the GPL that he must cause the work to be licensed under the GPL, but I see no mention that that license must be exclusively given. In fact, the GPL specifically states that "If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works." which is precisely what I am saying.

            • All derivatives of GPL'd works must be licensed under the GPL exclusively.

              "Where does the GPL state this? I don't even see the work exclusive or exclusively in the GPL. How can you explain mozilla code being licensed under multiple licenses?"

              Sorry, I was unclear. I was assuming that (1) the person making the derivative was not the original copyright holder and (2) that the software in question was licensed exclusively under the GPL.

              Only the original copyright holder can institute dual licensing, and derivatives of dual licensed works must follow the terms of one or both licenses.

              "Perhaps you are misunderstanding me. I am not saying that licensing a derivitive work under a non-GPL license gives anyone any extra priviliges, but that is only because copying or distribution of the derivitive work almost always constitutes a direct infringement of the original work."

              You don't need to license something unless you distribute it.

              "Are you telling me that the copyright holder of a derivitive work is not allowed to license his own work under any license he wishes?"

              Yes. You are missing section a of 103, which says that usage of a derivative work must be lawful, meaning it must be authorized by the original copyright holder. In the case of the GPL, this means that the copyright holder of the derivative can't distribute it except under the terms of the GPL.

              "but I see no mention that that license must be exclusively given."

              The derivative writer has no right to distribute her derivative at all unless the original copyright holder consents. The only consent given by the original copyright holder is the GPL (usually, except in dual licensing situations).

              "In fact, the GPL specifically states that "If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works." which is precisely what I am saying."

              No, it's precisely irrelevent -- these independent sections are not derivative works, so section 103 doesn't apply to them.
              • The derivative writer has no right to distribute her derivative at all unless the original copyright holder consents.

                Only to the extent that distribution of that derivitive work infringes upon the original work. For instance, if I create software which uses a GPLed library, and I have created that derivitive work under the terms of the GPL part 2, I now own the copyright to that work, and can license it under any terms I see fit. In order to have created the work under part 2 I must have already given all third parties a GPL license for the work, but that does not preclude me from also licensing the derivitive work under other licenses. Now say I GPLed and BSD licensed my derivitive work, and a third party wanted to create a derivitive of my work, and that derivitive was not in and of itself a derivitive of the original GPLed work (say another completely different library). In that case that third party would not have to distribute the source.

                If my derivitive contained any of the original work, then any third party would have to receive a license from the original party to create a derivitive of that derivitive.

                Distribution of a legally created derivitive work (such as one created under part 2 of the GPL) is not restricted by copyright law, unless that derivitive contains the original work in it. Now it could be argued that when you created the derivitive you became bound to a contractual relationship with the original copyright holder, as you accepted the terms of the GPL, but that's out of the scope of copyright law and would vary from state to state (it's essentially an EULA in that case). In any case, the GPL does not restrict dual licensing, so that I would say is perfectly legit, distribution on the other hand would be problematic once you agreed to give up your rights (including possibly the right to first sale) by accepting the GPL.

                • Prizog:"The derivative writer has no right to distribute her derivative at all unless the original copyright holder consents. "

                  Aozilla:"Only to the extent that distribution of that derivitive work infringes upon the original work. For instance, if I create software which uses a GPLed library, and I have created that derivitive work under the terms of the GPL part 2, I now own the copyright to that work, and can license it under any terms I see fit."


                  GPL para 2 puts conditions on the distribution of that derivative work. Among the conditions is a requirement to license the derivative work under the GPL (2b). You do not have permission to distribute it under any other license; to do so would be infringing.

                  "Distribution of a legally created derivitive work (such as one created under part 2 of the GPL) is not restricted by copyright law, unless that derivitive contains the original work in it."

                  Incorrect. Consider a movie made from a novel. Even if it has no lines from the original novel in it, it is still derivative of the novel, and is infringing unless licensed.

                  "Now it could be argued that when you created the derivitive you became bound to a contractual relationship with the original copyright holder, as you accepted the terms of the GPL, but that's out of the scope of copyright law and would vary from state to state (it's essentially an EULA in that case)."

                  That's not how the GPL works. If you create a derivative work of a GPL'd program, you must follow the terms of the GPL (us code title 17 section 103 (a))

                  "In any case, the GPL does not restrict dual licensing."

                  It restricts adding or removing license terms by anyone other than the sole copyright holder(s).

                  "distribution on the other hand would be problematic once you agreed to give up your rights (including possibly the right to first sale) by accepting the GPL."

                  I can't understand this statement. What does first sale have to do with any of this?
                  • "Distribution of a legally created derivitive work (such as one created under part 2 of the GPL) is not restricted by copyright law, unless that derivitive contains the original work in it."

                    Incorrect. Consider a movie made from a novel. Even if it has no lines from the original novel in it, it is still derivative of the novel, and is infringing unless licensed.

                    Consider a movie made from a novel. Consider that Steven King owns the novel copyright, and Warner Brothers owns the movie copyright (made under a legal agreement with SK). Now consider that I want to distribute the movie. Are you saying that I have to get permission from Steven King? I don't think that's true. Section 106 only gives exclusive rights to the preparation of derivitive works, not the distribution of them. I guess you could interpret Section 106(3) otherwise, but unless I see a case where a person who only distributed a derivitive work was successfully sued under copyright law by the maker of the original work (when that derivitive contained none of the original), I'm not going to buy that interpretation.

                    "In any case, the GPL does not restrict dual licensing."

                    It restricts adding or removing license terms by anyone other than the sole copyright holder(s).

                    Where? A quick search for "add" and "remov" didn't show anything that says that. Actually, the GPL doesn't even require you to license a derivitive work under the GPL unless you distribute or publish it, but that's a whole different story. Actually, "publication" is probably what the U.S. code means when it says "preparation" of a derivitive work. But again that's one where I know no legal precedent, and it's also one where I'm not too sure which way the courts will go if it ever came into place.

                    "distribution on the other hand would be problematic once you agreed to give up your rights (including possibly the right to first sale) by accepting the GPL."

                    I can't understand this statement. What does first sale have to do with any of this?

                    Well, I argue above that a third party has a right to distribute a derivitive of a GPLed work which does not contain any of the original work itself without regard to the wishes of the copyright holder of that original work. This arguably may not apply to the actual creator of the derivitive work, because that creator must have accepted the GPL.

                    First sale doesn't directly apply in this case, but the courts have ruled that if you legally download software directly to your CD-R, you have a first sale right to resell that CD-R in any way you see fit (including without offering source code). Again, a completely different story, but one which applies to the GPL and indeed any software which is distributed for free (beer) over the internet. Basically, all those license agreements not to redistribute the software are essentially unenforcible since you can download and burn 50,000 CDs and redistribute them (though the courts have ruled that first sale does not apply to electronically redistributing the downloaded software). I'm not even sure how we got into this discussion, but the point I'm asserting is that there is no exclusive right given to the original copyright holder for distribution of a derivitive work (when that derivitive work does not contain any of the original).

                    • "Consider a movie made from a novel. Consider that Steven King owns the novel copyright, and Warner Brothers owns the movie copyright (made under a legal agreement with SK). Now consider that I want to distribute the movie..."

                      The situation isn't the same -- we were talking about you producing and distributing the derivative work. You are Warner Brothers.

                      "unless I see a case where a person who only distributed a derivitive work was successfully sued under copyright law by the maker of the original work (when that derivitive contained none of the original), I'm not going to buy that interpretation."

                      OK, here's Stewart v. Abend:
                      http://www2.tltc.ttu.edu/Cochran/Cases%20&%20Rea di ngs/Copyright-UNT/abend.htm

                      Finally, in the GPL software universe, the case of a derivative work that doesn't include any of the original is *very* rare.

                      "Well, I argue above that a third party has a right to distribute a derivitive of a GPLed work which does not contain any of the original work itself without regard to the wishes of the copyright holder of that original work. This arguably may not apply to the actual creator of the derivitive work, because that creator must have accepted the GPL."

                      And if the creator accepted and followed the GPL, she has only distributed copies licensed under the GPL, so the third party who has recieved copies from her has also gotten them under the terms of the GPL.

                      "First sale doesn't directly apply in this case, but the courts have ruled that if you legally download software directly to your CD-R, you have a first sale right to resell that CD-R in any way you see fit (including without offering source code)."

                      This is definately a different case, because it doesn't involve modification. Also, it
                      applies to any content that is sold electronically, not just GPL software. Yes, it even
                      applies to your license.

                      This scenario still doesn't allow relicensing , *modifying*, or renting.

                      Also, I would like to see this specific case that you mention, because I have never heard of it, and would be surprised if it were true -- there is no way the courts will respect "first sale" if the alternative is the end of digital copyright, which is more-or-less the case here. Basically, if you tried to tell a judge this, they would laugh you out of court.
                    • The situation isn't the same -- we were talking about you producing and distributing the derivative work. You are Warner Brothers.

                      Maybe that's what you were talking about, but I have said over and over that I am not talking about the creator of the derivitive work, as that could fall under breach of contract (but not copyright), assuming the creator accepts the GPL (would fall under copyright if s/he doesn't).

                      "unless I see a case where a person who only distributed a derivitive work was successfully sued under copyright law by the maker of the original work (when that derivitive contained none of the original), I'm not going to buy that interpretation."

                      OK, here's Stewart v. Abend

                      Wow, that's a very good reference. Of course, I agree with it completely. In its essence it is saying "Therefore, if the author dies before the renewal period, then the assignee may continue to use the original work only if the author's successor transfers the renewal rights to the assignee. [...] Application of this rule to this case should end the inquiry" [emphasis mine]. It also states that "The aspects of a derivative work added by the derivative author are that author's property, but the element drawn from the pre-existing work remains on grant from the owner of the pre-existing work." But I think in this case we're both actually right...

                      Finally, in the GPL software universe, the case of a derivative work that doesn't include any of the original is *very* rare.

                      In fact, it seems that the court rules here that it is impossible to create a derivitive work which is independent of the original.

                      Section 6 of the 1909 Act, 17 U.S.C. 7 (1976 ed.) - which provides that derivative works when produced with the consent of the copyright proprietor of the pre-existing work "shall be regarded as new works subject to copyright . . .; but the publication of any such new works shall not affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright upon the matter employed . . .," or be construed to affect the copyright status of the original work - does not, as the dissent contends, give the original author the power to sell the rights to make a derivative work that upon creation and copyright would be completely independent of the original work

                      So maybe in fact we're both right.

                      And if the creator accepted and followed the GPL, she has only distributed copies licensed under the GPL, so the third party who has recieved copies from her has also gotten them under the terms of the GPL.

                      That is the part where I disagree, because as I say, there is no restriction in the GPL from distributing copies which are licensed under the GPL and another license. The other license would only apply to the new parts of the work, but in this hypothetical we were asserting that all of the derivitive work was new. Perhaps that hypothetical is impossible, but I hope you at least can agree that the creator of a derivitive work has the right to license the new parts of that derivitive work under any license s/he sees fit (barring any contractual agreement not to do so).

                      Also, I would like to see this specific case that you mention, because I have never heard of it, and would be surprised if it were true -- there is no way the courts will respect "first sale" if the alternative is the end of digital copyright, which is more-or-less the case here. Basically, if you tried to tell a judge this, they would laugh you out of court.

                      As it turns out, I was misinformed that it was a court case, but it was in the U.S. Copyright office's report on the DMCA [loc.gov], page 78 (pdf page 120).

                      This is definately a different case, because it doesn't involve modification. Also, it applies to any content that is sold electronically, not just GPL software. Yes, it even applies to your license.

                      Well, it applies to my license, but my license already permits distribution without restriction, so it's a moot point.

                      This scenario still doesn't allow relicensing , *modifying*, or renting.

                      I agree on relicensing and renting, which are pretty much unnecessary for something which is GPLed anyway. By modifying I assume you mean preparation of derivitive works, which is a much different thing. I only asserted that it allowed distribution of GPLed binaries without distribution of source code, which, hell, is what my license allows too.

                      Speaking of which, I'm thinking about adding another sentence to my license. "Circumvention of any technological measure or measures which effectively control access to this work is permitted without restriction." At least that would stop someone who added access control (maybe a serial number check) from suing someone who bypasses that serial number check. It would still allow the serial number check to be added, but that's intentional (the purpose of my license is to get the government out of copyright infringement, not to stop companies from adding copyright controls to their software). Actually, one of the main purposes is to ensure that I can never be sued for infringing on a derivitive of my own software.

                    • || The situation isn't the same -- we were talking about you producing and distributing the derivative work. You are Warner Brothers.

                      | Maybe that's what you were talking about, but I have said over and over that I am not talking about the creator of the derivitive work, as that could fall under breach of contract (but not copyright), assuming the creator accepts the GPL (would fall under copyright if s/he doesn't).

                      Violating the GPL is a copyright violation, not a contract violation, in all the situations I have heard of. If you aren't talking about the creator of a derivative work, then who are you talking about? What is your point here?

                      ||| unless I see a case where a person who only distributed a derivitive work was successfully sued under copyright law by the maker of the original work (when that derivitive contained none of the original), I'm not going to buy that interpretation."

                      || OK, here's Stewart v. Abend

                      | Wow, that's a very good reference. Of course, I agree with it completely. In its essence it is saying "Therefore, if the author dies before the renewal period, then the assignee may continue to use the original work only if the author's successor transfers the renewal rights to the assignee. [...] Application of this rule to this case should end the inquiry". It also states that "The aspects of a derivative work added by the derivative author are that author's property, but the element drawn from the pre-existing work remains on grant from the owner of the pre-existing work." But I think in this case we're both actually right...

                      Well, your contention was that the original author has no rights to prohibit or license derivative works that contain none of the original (but are not independent, of course). The movie Rear Window contained none of the story (AFAICS), not even the title, but was still derivative. The case shows that your contention is incorrect.

                      || Finally, in the GPL software universe, the case of a derivative work that doesn't include any of the original is *very* rare.

                      | In fact, it seems that the court rules here that it is impossible to create a derivitive work which is independent of the original.

                      Well, of course it is -- if it were independent, it wouldn't be derivative. But you were suggesting that different rules might apply to a derivative work which contained none of the original code (but would still not be independent). I said that this was unlikely.

                      | Section 6 of the 1909 Act, 17 U.S.C. 7 (1976 ed.) - which provides that derivative works when produced with the consent of the copyright proprietor of the pre-existing work "shall be regarded as new works subject to copyright . . .; but the publication of any such new works shall not affect the force or validity of any subsisting copyright upon the matter employed . . .," or be construed to affect the copyright status of the original work - does not, as the dissent contends, give the original author the power to sell the rights to make a derivative work that upon creation and copyright would be completely independent of the original work
                      | So maybe in fact we're both right.

                      I can see that I'm right that derivative works of all kinds require consent of the original author to be distributed, but I can't see where you're right.

                      || And if the creator accepted and followed the GPL, she has only distributed copies licensed under the GPL, so the third party who has recieved copies from her has also gotten them under the terms of the GPL.

                      | That is the part where I disagree, because as I say, there is no restriction in the GPL from distributing copies which are licensed under the GPL and another license. The other license would only apply to the new parts of the work, but in this hypothetical we were asserting that all of the derivitive work was new. Perhaps that hypothetical is impossible, but I hope you at least can agree that the creator of a derivitive work has the right to license the new parts of that derivitive work under any license s/he sees fit (barring any contractual agreement not to do so).

                      If the new parts are not independent, then they are derivative works of the original, and they fall under the terms of section 2. If they are independent, then they may be licensed as you like, as the GPL explicitly states.

                      || Also, I would like to see this specific case that you mention, because I have never heard of it, and would be surprised if it were true -- there is no way the courts will respect "first sale" if the alternative is the end of digital copyright, which is more-or-less the case here. Basically, if you tried to tell a judge this, they would laugh you out of court.

                      | As it turns out, I was misinformed that it was a court case, but it was in the U.S. Copyright office's report on the DMCA, page 78 (pdf page 120).

                      Doing it multiple times would probably still be construed as violating 106 (3). The next 20 pages are extremely clear that first sale is a limited right. Most salient is the following passage:

                      "The Supreme Court drew a sharp distinction between the two rights, creating an exception to the vending (i.e., distribution) right only to the extent that it didn't interfere with the reproduction right." (pdf page 80).

                      || This scenario still doesn't allow relicensing , *modifying*, or renting.

                      | I only asserted that it allowed distribution of GPLed binaries without distribution of source code, which, hell, is what my license allows too.

                      Since this must be of limited scope (see above), and since it only applies to unmodified binaries, it is not a major threat to the GPL.

                      | Speaking of which, I'm thinking about adding another sentence to my license. "Circumvention of any technological measure or measures which effectively control access to this work is permitted without restriction."

                      Unfortunately, you can't over-rule US law here -- Note that Dmitry Sklyarov is being prosecuted by the US government, not Adobe.

                      | Actually, one of the main purposes is to ensure that I can never be sued for infringing on a derivitive of my own software.

                      That seems rather pointless to me because I think the terms of the GPL are all good, and I think that violations (even by the original authors) ought to be stopped.
                    • The movie Rear Window contained none of the story (AFAICS), not even the title, but was still derivative. The case shows that your contention is incorrect.

                      My assumption was that the movie contained the same basic story as the book (but not the same title).

                      Doing it multiple times would probably still be construed as violating 106 (3).

                      If I buy one copy of Windows, I can sell that one copy. If I buy two copies, I can sell both copies. If I buy 50,000 copies, I can sell all 50,000. Likewise, if I download one copy of Red Hat, I can sell that one copy, if I download 50,000 copies, I can sell 50,000 copies. Further, if my friend downloads one copy, modifies it, and lets me download 50,000 copies, I can sell those 50,000 copies, without distributing the source. My friend would only be required under the GPL to give the source to me. Nothing more. But again, that has little to do with the point that we were discussing (although, if my friend is I, and no one realizes that, well, I guess it is what we're discussing).

                      Since this must be of limited scope (see above), and since it only applies to unmodified binaries, it is not a major threat to the GPL.

                      Because of the scenario I outline above (with the friend), I believe it is a major threat to the GPL.

                      Speaking of which, I'm thinking about adding another sentence to my license. "Circumvention of any technological measure or measures which effectively control access to this work is permitted without restriction."

                      Unfortunately, you can't over-rule US law here -- Note that Dmitry Sklyarov is being prosecuted by the US government, not Adobe.

                      to ''circumvent a technological measure'' means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure,
                      without the authority of the copyright owner; and

                      Emphasis mine. You are allowed to circumvent copyright protections with the permission of the copyright holder. Also, note that Dmitry's software was for circumventing the copyright of the book owners, not the copyright of Adobe. Also, he got permission, if you can call it that, after the fact, not before. And finally, he created circumvention software, which is perhaps not made legal by adding that clause to my license. Although, it would possibly make it legal to write the software to circumvent if the circumvention itself was not illegal. I haven't looked into that very deeply.

                    • ||The movie Rear Window contained none of the story (AFAICS), not even the title, but was still derivative. The case shows that your contention is incorrect.

                      |My assumption was that the movie contained the same basic story as the book (but not the same title).

                      Ack, s/story/words/. Yeah, it contained the same story.

                      ||Doing it multiple times would probably still be construed as violating 106 (3).

                      | Likewise, if I download one copy of Red Hat, I can sell that one copy, if I download 50,000 copies, I can sell 50,000 copies. Further, if my friend downloads one copy, modifies it, and lets me download 50,000 copies, I can sell those 50,000 copies, without distributing the source. My friend would only be required under the GPL to give the source to me. Nothing more. But again, that has little to do with the point that we were discussing (although, if my friend is I, and no one realizes that, well, I guess it is what we're discussing).

                      No court anywhere would uphold that.

                      || Since this must be of limited scope (see above), and since it only applies to unmodified binaries, it is not a major threat to the GPL.

                      | Because of the scenario I outline above (with the friend), I believe it is a major threat to the GPL.

                      For the reason I describe above (and in the quote from the copyright office, which you snipped), I think it's not.

                      || Unfortunately, you can't over-rule US law here -- Note that Dmitry Sklyarov is being prosecuted by the US government, not
                      Adobe.

                      | to ''circumvent a technological measure'' means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner;

                      | Emphasis mine. You are allowed to circumvent copyright protections with the permission of the copyright holder.

                      1201b doesn't mention permission, and that's what Sklyarov is charged with violating. So, your added clause would (unfortunately) be useless. Only requiring the provision of source in a machine-readable format, and forbidding other restrictions (GPL 7, IIRC) will allow you to fully make derivative works of your software forever.
                    • 1201b doesn't mention permission, and that's what Sklyarov is charged with violating. So, your added clause would (unfortunately) be useless.

                      Which is what I said, that this wouldn't necessary protect against 1201b. I still think it could, since I find it hard to believe that a law banning trafficking in software which is designed solely for performing legal acts could possibly be constitutional. And even if it is, I think a judge and/or jury would throw it out anyway. But, even if this doesn't protect against 1201b (and I can't think of a way to definitively do that without breaking my rules for my licence), it still protects against 1201a, and therefore it isn't useless.

                      Only requiring the provision of source in a machine-readable format, and forbidding other restrictions (GPL 7, IIRC) will allow you to fully make derivative works of your software forever.

                      I don't see how providing the source in (I assume you mean human-readable) format makes any difference. Circumvention is circumvention, whether you do it by hacking the binary, or by modifying the source.

                    • . I still think it could, since I find it
                      hard to believe that a law banning trafficking in software which is designed solely for performing legal acts
                      could possibly be constitutional.

                      What if they use a standard commercial system to encrypt it? Then your software would have non-lawful uses.

                      | I don't see how providing the source in (I assume you mean human-readable) format makes any difference. Circumvention is circumvention, whether you do it by hacking the binary, or by modifying the source.

                      I mean machine-readable, so that they can't ship you a ream of printouts in MS Comic Sans when you ask for the source. It helps because that requirement makes it illegal for them to give you just an encrypted binary. They have to give you the source in a way you can use it.

                      Oh, I remembered the other reason your desires were silly -- it's no use to be able to modify a program when all you have is the binary. Sure, there are decompilers, but they don't work very well. You ought to require the source, and you ought to use a license looked over by a lawyer: the GPL.
                    • What if they use a standard commercial system to encrypt it? Then your software would have non-lawful uses.

                      The owner of the encryption system is meaningless. The permission you need is from "the copyright holder". I can only assume that means the copyright holder of the encrypted work. You agree with that, right?

                      Oh, I remembered the other reason your desires were silly -- it's no use to be able to modify a program when all you have is the binary.

                      The permission to create derivitive works is not very useful for those who choose to not redistribute source. But I by no means believe that will be the majority. Don't throw me into the goals of those supporting the GPL, my goals are probably closer to those supporting the BSD license. My major problem with the license is that companies like Apple can create completely proprietary software derived from BSD software. Under my license, if Apple did such a thing, anyone could download the OS, copy it, and distribute it for any price for any fee or for free. I'm not sure how that desire is silly.

                      Sure, there are decompilers, but they don't work very well.

                      But for the original creator of the work (which is my main concern, since I intend to use this licence mainly for my own original creations), decompilation of the entire source isn't necessary, only reverse engineering of the modified parts. For this reason, even the GPL is less beneficial to me. If minor changes (or major changes for which source is released) are made to the software, I do not have to obtain permission from the maker of those changes to incorporate them into my work, even if I license my work to others (for a fee) under less strict licenses. With the GPL, I would have to have the copyright of the changes signed over to me, or these changes would have to be incorporated through a clean room implementation. So besides the idealistic reasons, that I don't believe source should have to be distributed, there is this practical reason as well.

                    • || What if they use a standard commercial system to encrypt it? Then your software would have non-lawful uses.

                      | The owner of the encryption system is meaningless. The permission you need is from "the copyright holder". I can only assume that means the copyright holder of the encrypted work. You agree with that, right?

                      Yeah, I agree. But the issue is that Software Hoarder would use SoftLock (before they went out of business), so your cracking program would also crack other locked programs, and would thus be illegal.

                      We'll have to agree to disagree on the rest, I'm afraid.
                    • But the issue is that Software Hoarder would use SoftLock (before they went out of business), so your cracking program would also crack other locked programs, and would thus be illegal.

                      I don't know enough about the details of SoftLock to say for sure, but I'd imagine there must be a way to create a crack for one program without it cracking the rest. Actually, I'm positive there is a way, the question is how difficult it would be to implement. Software Hoarder must have a way to generate keys (and presumably can only generate keys for its own program). Well, that's all speculation since I don't know the details of SoftLock.

                      In any case, if there were software such as SoftLock which actually worked, I personally have no problem with someone using it to protect their software from "piracy". My big problem is with the government setting up laws which are impossible to enforce and which are broken by 90% of the population. I have no problem with companies who protect their copyrights through technological means, only when they spend my tax money enforcing it.

                      We'll have to agree to disagree on the rest, I'm afraid.

                      I agree (that we should agree to disagree) :).

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