suggestion: optional clauses for open source licenses

Bernhard Fastenrath bfastenrath at
Sat Nov 13 04:18:55 UTC 2004

Bernhard Fastenrath wrote:

> Thorsten Glaser wrote:
>> Bernhard Fastenrath dixit:
>>> terms. The license name could be written as GPL+PIP which would
>>> mean "GNU Public License with additional Public Intellectual Property 
>>> clause"
>> The GPL forbids that.
>> No additional restrictions.
> The GPL cannot forbid this. If I am the author of a programm
> and call my license GPL+PIP then GPL+PIP is the license and
> the GPL+PIP cannot be extended by further restrictions because
> the GPL+PIP will contain the clause you mentioned, provided that
> this clause is actually part of the GPL, which I didn't verify.

Quoting the GPL:
   "8. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in
certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the
original copyright holder who places the Program under this License
may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding
those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among
countries not thus excluded.  In such case, this License incorporates
the limitation as if written in the body of this License."

The GPL provides for clauses to be added but only to limit
geographical distribution. The PIP clause would currently turn
the resulting license (GPL+PIP) into a new and incompatible license.

> The GPL+PIP would, of course, be GPL compatible but every GPL
> program using GPL+PIP licensed code would be infected with PIP,
> which is a very healthy strain of community virus, so I can't
> recognize any reason to apply antibiotics.

Quoting the GPL again:
   "10. If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other free
programs whose distribution conditions are different, write to the 
author to ask for permission."

I have to correct myself: The GPL+PIP would be incompatible as it
is a different license and the GPL does not provide for compatible
licenses, except for the exception in paragraph 8.


PIP clause:
   "If you are owner of software patents you agree to refrain from
any legal action based on infringement of your intellectual property 
claims derived from said patents against users of open source software 
and concerning open source software as defined by the Open Source 
Initiative (OSI)."

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