[Approval Request] BSD-Lite license

Paul Guyot pguyot at kallisys.net
Tue Nov 27 22:45:09 UTC 2001

>Agreed.  (And I agree that the compilation case is not very
>different from the derivative-work case, as well.)
>But since B is *licensed* by A (whether by a public license or
>otherwise) to incorporate a in b, there can be no breach of A's

Indeed if B licenses her work without infringing A's conditions.
Please don't forget that this license also puts conditions such as 
reproducing the license.

>>Your excerpt of the US copyright law just talks about point (a). If 
>>you quoted the first sentence of 17/103/b, you'll have seen that 
>>point (b) is there as well:
>>>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.
>No *exclusive* right.  In other words, B has no right to exclude
>A from licensing a to persons other than herself, nor to license a
>to third parties, nor in general to do any of those things wrt the
>work a that only the copyright owner may do.  But she may do all
>these things wrt the work b, including the a-components of it.

B can only do this without violating copyrights of A.
Let take your example of the book and the movie. A writes a book, 
sells a license to B to do a movie. A's license specifically talks 
about the VHS. B cannot sell the rights to C to make a video game out 
of her movie and taking in such a way A out of the game. Because in 
the video game it will still be A's characters.

Let's say that A supports a charit A* and says that you can make 
derived work out of her book a provided that you give 1 % of your 
benefits to this charit A*. B takes it for granted and makes a movie 
b. B supports another charit B*. Can B say that you can make derived 
work out of b by giving 1 % to B*? No, because it would be a derived 
work of a as well. All that B can say is that you have to give 1% to 
A* and 1% to B*.

If we go back to software, A releases some software under BSD. A 
explicitly says under which conditions her work shall be used. You 
can distribute modified versions provided that the BSD license 
appears in the doc/source code. If B creates b derived from a, B has 
to reproduce this. B cannot tell C to take her code and only respect 
the GPL. C will have to reproduce the BSD as well. GPL forbids this, 
hence the incompatibility.

Now, (to get back to the title of this thread), if A releases some 
software under BSD-Lite. If B creates a derived work, BSD-Lite asks 
her to put the copyright notice and the disclaimer. She can release 
the thing under GPL since the GPL allows (and even requires) a 
copyright notice and a disclaimer. If C takes b code and derives it 
to c, A will still hold a copyright on c. But A's license permits 
what C is doing (keeping the copyright notice as the GPL requires and 
having a disclaimer).

>Well, the file FTP.EXE contains a Regents of the University of
>California copyright notice in it.

So they might indeed be violating the BSD license there. However, 
they might also have a special agreement with the copyright owners.

>>By the EULA plus the BSD, I meant what the BSD allows minus what 
>>the EULA forbids.
>All of what the BSD allows is forbidden by the EULA, so this is
>not a good example for this particular line of reasoning.

EULA + BSD also means what BSD requires plus what EULA requires, and 
includes reproducing the BSD license and not using the BSD code 
copyright holder's name to advertise the software.

>Consider this example:  Alice writes a novel, and Bob makes a movie
>that is adapted from this novel, under license from Alice.  Mallory now
>bootlegs VHS copies (to avoid the complications of the DCMA, we won't
>talk of DVD copies) of Bob's movie.  Who gets to sue Mallory for
>copyright infringement?
>Bob and Bob alone.  The fact that Alice's characters and even words
>are to be found in the movie doesn't matter.

I guess that bootlegging copies here includes making copies 
(otherwise, it's not part of the rights of the copyright, AFAIK). 
What is copied is Bob's work as a whole, and indeed, Bob's copyright 
is more directly infringed than Alice's. I'm not totally sure that 
Alice couldn't sue Mallory neither (of course, it bootlegging 
includes making copies).

But what if you consider Mallory adapting Bob's movie to a video game instead?

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