Approval request, DSPL v1.1

John Cowan cowan at
Sat Oct 13 17:19:07 UTC 2001

Julian Hall scripsit:

> Having quickly scanned the archives of the license discussion mailing
> list I can't find much reference from when I submitted version 1.0, but
> I did note that there was some concern about the license requiring the
> committee to be an incorporated body.


(Hmm, perhaps YADA stands for Yet Another Disclaimer Added?  We never knew
that before!)

The trouble here, at least as I understand it, is that copyright must be
held by a person either natural or legal.  An unincorporated committee
is neither, so the copyright cannot be transferred to it.  The U.S. Copyright
Act requires that a transfer of copyright (as opposed to a non-exclusive
license) be signed and in writing.  Each outgoing committee, then, would
have to formally transfer its rights to the (members of the) incoming committee.

How likely is that, especially if the new committee is adverse to the old?

I see only one serious problem with OSD compliance: in section 4.1, the

	Inclusion in archives of software is permitted under this
	clause, as long as the main part of the archive consists of
	free software, or prominent notice is given that some packages
	the archive are free.

plainly violates clause 9 of the OSD.  It can be cured by simply
removing the provisos, leaving "Inclusion in archives of software is
permitted under this clause."

Detailed comments:

1.4: for "read and modified" read "most easily read and modified"

various places: for "procede" read "proceed"

4.2: for "relicense your modified version" read "publish your modified
version"; the term "relicense" is problematic and should be avoided.

Note that this will tend to prevent people from reusing your code
(except with the GPL option) unless they are willing to set up
the Executive Committee, Merit Shares, etc. etc. machinery for
their own software as well.

5.1: for "layed out" read "laid out"

various places: for "ie" read "i.e.", for "eg" read "e.g."

various places: for "posess" read "possess"

5.6: should contain some such sentence as "When a Merit Share holder changes
email addresses, it is his or her responsibility to notify the Executive

5.13: for "commercial product" read "proprietary work" (Open Source works can be
commercial products)

5.15: for "trigerring" read "triggering"

John Cowan               cowan at
Please leave your values        |       Check your assumptions.  In fact,
   at the front desk.           |          check your assumptions at the door.
     --sign in Paris hotel      |            --Miles Vorkosigan

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