License Committee report

James William Pye flaw at
Fri Feb 20 04:05:21 UTC 2004

Just to precede my statements with a warning that they are as it seems to
me. I am not a lawyer, so my opinions could use any [dis|]qualifications.

On 02/17/04:07/2, Zooko O'Whielacronx wrote:
> Does the Fair License require the software developer who uses such licensed 
> source code to inform his users (i.e. at runtime or in documentation) about the 
> existence of the Fair License?

Yes, but the choice of method is ultimately left to the author and later
"forwarded" to the user. So not specifically at runtime or in

I had concerns with that wording. I felt that 'notify' was a fine term to
help enforce a goal of Due Credit(attribution).  Although, my purpose was
not so much as to require a user to force the instrument in another user's
face, but rather to keep the creator of a derivative work from hiding the
instrument to obfuscate the origins of the original works to help his/her
profits. Of course, intention doesn't quite always map to effect, so I plan
to give this more thought in the future.  Another concern would be from the
other side. For instance, a litigious developer that claims works based on
his/her works did not provide a proper method of instrument notification.

The license does not specify the method of instrument notification, so I
think that leaving that ambiguity *might* imply that the method of
notification should be similarly conspicuous to the method that the author
implemented in his/her original works. Well, I think that would be the
safest way for the user.

I was thinking about this while I was writing this response, perhaps
something along the lines of: ...any entity that uses the works is notified
of this instrument by a method that is leastwise conspicuous as the method
implemented within the original works...

I think such an addition may help clarity, but is probably unnecessary from
both views, and potentially harmful in a case where an odd developer deems
it necessary to smother his users with copyright/license notifications.
Such a case would be more like advertising than mere notification.

> Another thing I don't understand is if the "let's not proliferate substantially
> similar licenses" reasoning should not also apply to the approval of the Fair
> License.

I was unsure of this myself. I think the main distinction between my
license and most open source licenses is that most open source license
specify the license as covering "source", "source code" or distribution,
which I felt may be too specific for my some of my usage. 'Works' seems
more appropriate to me; although, I'm not sure if it would make a
significant difference if it were ever brought under serious scrutiny.
        James William Pye
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