OVPL summary

Michael Bernstein webmaven at cox.net
Wed Sep 14 19:25:52 UTC 2005

On Wed, 2005-09-14 at 13:09 -0400, Chuck Swiger wrote:
> Michael Bernstein wrote:
> > On Wed, 2005-09-14 at 07:53 -0400, Chuck Swiger wrote:
> >>Brian C wrote:
> >>> So perhaps the OVPL presents a more specific question to OSI: Is a
> >>> license that grants greater rights to an initial developer than it
> >>> grants to other licensees consistent with OSI's principles, in
> >>> particular, does it constitute "discrimination against persons or groups"?
> >>
> >> No.  The author of the software generally has significant additional rights on 
> >> the original software beyond what a proposed license grants to other people, by 
> >> virtue of common law where that applies ("droit d'auteur"), having the right to 
> >> release under a different license, etc.
> > 
> > To my mind, there is a big difference between the ID having additional
> > rights to the original work, and the ID having additional rights to all
> > derivative works.
> Yes, that's a good point to keep in mind.
> Are the obligations the OVPL creates towards the ID substantially different 
> from other approved licenses?  Do they interfere with one user trying to modify 
> or share code with other users besides the ID?  Would they prevent a user from 
> forking the codebase?

Well... that sort of depends on exactly how you define 'fork'. Since the
ID can always mine any version for improvements to add to their
proprietary product, regardless of the other contributors' wishes,
forking to escape bad stewardship and community parasitization by the ID
is very difficult (though perhaps not *quite* impossible).

> So long as the changes I might make remain publicly available, for anyone to 
> use, I don't object if the ID has the right to also create proprietary works 
> using my changes.  I don't think the OVPL should become an OSI-recommended or 
> top-tier license, but my feel is that it conforms with the OSD.

But what about the fact that any *private* changes you make to the
software can be demanded by the ID and incorporated into both their
proprietary version *and* the public version, regardless of your wishes?

- Michael Bernstein

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