Exact license to solve the Open Source/Closed Standard problem?

Russell McOrmond russell at flora.ca
Tue Sep 28 13:44:27 UTC 2004

Note: I know this is a list intended to discuss the approval of new 
licenses.  In this case I want to recommend already OSI approved licensed 
to avoid having any new license to approve.

  I am working with a standards group that has two software components
they create.  One component is in a BSD-like license which I will
recommend that they just switch to the exact language of the BSD to make
it understood that the license is OSI approved.  Avoids anyone having to 
check with their lawyers.

  The other component is closed source, but they want to make it open 
source.  This is a group that are the keepers of a standard, and like the 
whole Java/etc mess they want to ensure that compatibility is kept.

  It sounds from the discussion that what is the best option is a license
that says "you may make derivatives, but you must rename these derivatives
unless <x> certifies your derivative as compliant with the specification".  

<x> is the standards body that is the holder of related trademarks.

  The power that these groups want to exert through copyright to keep
compatibility is moved to their trademarks.

  I was told the Apache license offered this (and much more, especially 
the required open licensing of patents).  It is, however, not very clear 
in the license:

    6. Trademarks.

    This License does not grant permission to use the trade names,
    trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as
    required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of
    the Work and reproducing the content of the NOTICE file.

  It may be implied that you can't use the trademark in a derivative, but
it isn't spelled out in a way that the average developer/company/etc would
understand that.

  Is there a similar license which spells this out very clearly?  Apache
license would have been ideal as the Apache foundation is well known and
thus there is trust in the license within the community.

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> 
 Get Creative: iCommons Canada Launch Party : September 30, 2004
 http://digital-copyright.ca/node/view/461  Creative Commons, 
 Open Access, Free/Libre and Open Source Software: In Canada, Eh!

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