OpenDivX license

Ben Tilly ben_tilly at
Mon Jan 22 04:37:05 UTC 2001

kmself at wrote:
>on Thu, Jan 18, 2001 at 09:51:40PM -0800, Brian Behlendorf 
>(brian at wrote:
>A philosophical point first:  I believe that attempting standards
>enforcement through copyright licensing is fundamentally broken.  We've
>seen this tried several times, with the Artistic (control over "Perl"
>name), and SCSL licenses, the results tending to be that the license
>doesn't work as intended or doesn't meet the OSD.  Wrong tool for the

Donald Knuth enforced a standard through copyright with
TeX.  I think it worked well, even if the result is not
open source.

>I'd argue that tying allowed modification to specific compatibility
>standards is a violation of:
>   - Condition 3, Derived Works:  Is the original license bound to the
>     same terms, or could the authors modify the code to be incompatible
>     with the MPEG-4 standard.  This might be a stretch, but I'd argue it
>     hard.
>   - Condition 6, Discrimination against fields of endeavor:  This is IMO
>     far more clear cut.  Restricting application of the license to code
>     meeting specific compatibility requirements is imposing a
>     restriction that a work *not* adhering to this standard is not
>     permitted.  The discrimination is against any field of endeavor
>     which isn't directly focused on MPEG-4.
What do you think about permitting any change you want, but
requiring changes that break a given standard to state that
fact whenever and wherever they display notifications that
it is derived from __X__ that it does not actually meet
standard __Y__?

This could be useful for reference implementations.  There
might be absolutely no problem with borrowing code from the
implementation and using anywhere.  However it is important
to require that if it is used in something not compatible
with the standard that there be no possibility of creating
confusion with the standard.

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