Group copyright, and customising standard licenses

Magnus Lie Hetland mlh at
Sun Aug 26 22:16:35 UTC 2001

From: "David Johnson" <david at>

> On Friday 24 August 2001 08:51 am, Magnus Lie Hetland wrote:
> > The anygui project ( is trying to formulate
> > a license. Basically, we're using the Python license
> > (2.2) but want to distribute a license file with our
> > software -- and in doing so, we need to customise the
> > license, supplying a copyright holder, and changing the
> > name of the project etc.
> Using license templates is best.

Well, that's basically what we've done, inasmuch as changing the
software name etc. is using a template. The only real change is that
I've deleted a sentence about "our trademarks", since we have none.

> That way the OSI doesn't have to approve a
> thousand different licenses, all differing only in the name of the
> holder, etc. From my understanding, they are working on this right now (am
> right?).

Well, from my point of view, the license is finished -- there just
seems to be some concern in the project of whether it is a valid

> When that time comes simply use the Python license and replace the
> copyright holder and name of project.

That's basically what has been done -- the question was how we could
hold copyright as a group (and what we should call ourselves) when
that group is defined by nothing else than working on anygui...

I guess that's the main prerequisite for holding copyright...

> The copyright holder must be a legal entity. Either an individual person
> group of persons by name, a corporation, foundation, etc.

Hm. Right. So the persons must be enumerated in the license (unless we are
a foundation)?

> I have seen licenses where there is the primary author's name followed by
> "and contributors", but I do not recommend this (I am not a lawyer, but I
> suspect a real lawyer wouldn't recommend this either). In my layman
> list all copyright holders in the license.

Hm. Sounds safe.

> You might want to look at the
> copyright notice for the linux kernel, since it has hundreds of
> Instead of saying "the authors of anygui" I would say "the copyright


But how do I reconcile such an enumeration of copyright holders with the
Python license? Could I do something like this?

Python license:
1. This LICENSE AGREEMENT is between the Python Software Foundation
("PSF"), and the Individual or Organization ("Licensee") accessing and
otherwise using Python 2.2 software in source or binary form and its
associated documentation.

Anygui license:
1. This LICENSE AGREEMENT is between [insert names here]
("Copyright Holders"), and the Individual or Organization ("Licensee")
accessing and otherwise using Anygui 0.1 software in source or binary form
and its associated documentation.

... where "[insert names here]" is replaced with a list of names of the
anygui developers?


  Magnus Lie Hetland

 "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in
  it, doesn't go away."           -- Philip K. Dick

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