Discuss: BSD Protection License

Forrest J. Cavalier III mibsoft at mibsoftware.com
Tue Mar 12 16:19:15 UTC 2002

OSD-related issues that I see

1. Someone already pointed out the OSD #1 issue.  If
the license doesn't explicitly permit selling copies,
then copyright law reserves the right to the author.

2. Except possibly for the copyleft clause 4c, the license
fails to state that the terms apply to everyone receiving
a copy of the software. 

The OSD could word it better, but the license terms must
"attach" to the program being distributed.  Is there any
OSI approved license which relies on a chain of licensees?  Look
at how OSI-approved licenses are worded and compare.  They are grants
and attached licenses.  (Sometimes you have to read the
definition of "you" or "recipient".)

The BSD Protection license defines "you" in a way that
has a self-reference.  There is no way to become a "you" unless
you are a licensee, and there is no way to be a licensee unless
you get it from Clause 4c.

3. The distribution term of clause 3c is obviously in conflict
with the OSD.  That clause should not be approved.  

The OSI approval process has rightly taken a dim view to
license clauses which are OSD conflicts, even when there is
an alternative clause.

The BSD Protection License is two different licenses.
If rewritten in the standard way of disjoint licenses,
then the version with Clause 4 terms would seem pretty
close to OSD compliant to me.


I think the ideas behind this license are somewhat novel.  But the
wordings leave me a lot of questions.  

1. There is no definition of the terms "open license" and "closed 
license."  (If those terms are not useful in selecting either
clause 3 or 4, then they should not be in the wording.)

2. I think as worded, you must make the election of Clause 3 or 4
as an organization, not on a work-by-work basis.  For example,
suppose I distribute two separate derivative works, and I choose
the clause 3 for the first work.  Later, I make a separate work
and choose clause 4.  I think that clause 4c says that I cannot
continue distributing the other work under the terms of clause 3.

3. When read a certain way, the wording of the copyleft clause 4c
is even more "tainting" than the GPL copyleft (ref GPL section 2).
Such an interpretation of clause 4c doesn't seem to be in the
spirit of the preamble, so I expect the wording can be adjusted
to clarify.

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