OSD modification regarding what license can require of user

Mitchell Baker mitchell at mozilla.org
Thu Mar 14 07:29:44 UTC 2002

Bruce Perens wrote:

> John Cowan:
>> I don't understand how this breaches the spirit of the GPL any more than
>> providing ASP-style access to the unmodified work does (i.e. not at 
>> all).
>> If you are free to make private mods to GPLed programs for your own
>> use, why not for others' use?  This is just timesharing under a new 
>> name.
> Well, I could answer that in two, conflicting ways. If distribution 
> becomes
> irrelevant, the spirit of the GPL in that respect is obsolete, isn't it?
> On the other hand, Richard treats this as a privacy issue. I contend 
> that a
> publicly performed GPL work with a private implementation does indeed 
> contradict
> the spirit of the GPL.
> Then, you get into the question of "what is the entity in which 
> privacy applies?"
> In the GPL, it is the entity within which there is no need to distribute.
> This has always been sort of vague to me, because it's not clear if a 
> corporation
> and all of its employees are a single entity, or if distribution takes 
> place
> between employees, or between employees and the corporation. Then, 
> bring in
> complications like consultants and companies working under contract 
> but not part
> of the same legal entity as the corporation.
>     Bruce

As to the question of the scope of a corporate entity, the MPL uses a 
"control" standard often found in corporate documents, securities 
documents and statutes.  The language is the sort everyone hates -- 
clearly written by lawyers for laawyers.  I've included it below.  But 
it is in general use, is generally understood by lawyers and judges who 
may someday look at this, and so won't need to develop its own case law 
and understanding.  There is a couple of other standards in use for 
determinging "control" but the one in the MPL seemed the best, at least 
when I researched this last.


1.12. "You'' (or "Your") * means an individual or a legal entity 
exercising rights under, and complying with all of the terms of, this 
License or a future version of this License issued under Section 6.1. 
For legal entities, "You'' includes any entity which controls, is 
controlled by, or is under common control with You. For purposes of this 
definition, "control'' means (a) the power, direct or indirect, to cause 
the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract or 
otherwise, or (b) ownership of more than fifty percent (50%) of the 
outstanding shares or beneficial ownership of such entity.

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