AW: For Approval: German Free Software License

Bernhard Fastenrath bfastenrath at
Fri Nov 26 12:57:43 UTC 2004

Axel Metzger wrote:
> I understand your point. But it seems to me like a new requirement not
> yet stated in the OS-definition. The point is based on some kind of
> mistrust that the Ministry and the Max-Planck-Society will use this provision
> in the License to rip off programmers. I think that this is wrong.
> Please note that the German State of Nordrhein-Westfalen represents
> more than 50 (!) universities that will use the license afterwards. The
> Max-Planck-Society has about 90 big research institutes. They already
> published the GFSL. That means that they cannot just like this change
> the rules of the license without having any problem. I know that these
> facts do not create as such a feeling of trust. However, I would very much
> appreciate if you could take into account the chance to come to some
> arrangement between OSI and the GFSL-people. They can survive without being
> certified by anybody. This is e.g. the way the French CNRS acts with their
> "cecil"-License. I do not see that CNRS even tried to talk to anybody. I am
> just saying this to give you a realistic idea about the political
> implications. Both sides should be interested to cooperate with the branches
> from the other side of the Atlantic.

What you are trying to establish in this paragraph is beside the point.
It sounds like a combination of an appeal to authority (*) with an
appeal to the number of universities/institutes involved (+). You are
adding the argumentation "others are doing worse" as an excuse that
isn't logically or ethically valid either.


> BTW: perhaps you recognized that my co-author Till Jaeger was the
> lawyer of the plaintiffs during the Munich-case concerning the validity of
> the GPL. You might know the result. It's the first judgement worldwide
> stating that sections 2-4 GPL are perfectly valid under German Copyright and
> Contract Law. Till and me built up during the last years
> and convinced the German legislature to insert in the Copyright Act spezial
> exceptions for Free and Open Source Software.

> However, my preferred model to come to a compromise would be to provide in
> the statute of the license board the requirement that "new versions of the
> License must be similar in its policies and follow the model of Free and Open
> Source Software." If OSI has the manpower to get a member in the license
> board one should talk about this. These issues must be considered carefully
> with the Ministry and the Max-Planck-Society. I can guarantee nothing.

IMHO, OSI cannot offer a compromise. You're logically not fulfilling
the requirements and now you want to bend the rules, using logical
fallacies as argumentation.

kind regards,

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