Cherry-picking license proposals

Carter Bullard carter at
Sun Jan 21 18:11:53 UTC 2001

Gentle people,
   What I fail to understand is what is the OSI's purpose
in certifying Open Source licenses.

Is the OSI trying to make a determination that two
different legal documents are functionally equivalent?

I hope not, as this is not only a legal impossibility,
but out of the scope of the OSI?  A lawyer can only give
his/her legal opinion regarding a determination of 
equivalency between two contracts.  To claim/state otherwise
is legal malpractice.  And since the OSI is not in the
legal advice game, how can they even comment on a legal
position of equivalency?
Is the OSI trying to develop a model license for the
Open Source Industry?  Then they should be working on
certifying only one license?   If so, what is the license,
its current state, and what improvements have been added as
a result of seeing what real companies put in their open
source licenses.

The biggest differences I see are in the areas of Contributor
liability.  I'm sure that there are other issues as well.  Is
the OSI going to improve its sanctioned license in this area?

My basic concern is Open Source project patent infringement.
If patented implementations find their way into my open
source project, can the holder of the patents shut me down?
Are Contributors liable?  If a court puts an injunction against
the distribution of code that infringes on a patent, is the
Open Source project liable for recovering the old versions?

The place to define the liabilities and remedies is in the
license.  My companies license has some detail in this area.
Basically, its up to the user of the software to determine
what if any patent infringement liability exists.

If the OSI doesn't address this issue, then I cannot use
their license, or I have to have an Addendum/Supplement that
better defines these liabilities and remedies.

Can the OSI license eventually handle these license issues?


Carter Bullard
QoSient, LLC
300 E. 56th Street, Suite 18K
New York, New York  10022

carter at
Phone +1 212 813-9426
Fax   +1 212 813-9426
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