Legal soundness comes to open source distribution

Lawrence E. Rosen lrosen at
Fri Aug 2 18:13:41 UTC 2002

M. Drew Streib wrote: [mailto:dtype at] 
> A better example:
> A benchmark suite is licensed under an OSI license, with the 
> use provision that you cannot publish results with the open 
> source version of the suite. You may copy it, redistribute 
> it, use it internally, etc, but one of the most commercially 
> useful features (a published result) is not allowed by a use license.
> Of course, a commercially licensed version is also available 
> which allows you to publish results.
> A company can very easily cripple software via a use license. 
> Should that package call itself "open source"? 

Then how about a provision of the OSD that reads something like the

  An open source license cannot restrict any fair
  use rights that would be available for a copyrighted
  work in the absence of a license.

That certainly would prevent someone from restricting the publication of
benchmark results, or using the work for "purposes such as criticism,
comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for
classroom use), scholarship, or research."  17 U.S.C. §107.


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