OSL 3.0 questions

Alex Bligh alex at alex.org.uk
Thu Sep 15 20:08:07 UTC 2005


A few questions on the OSL 3.0 I have come up with whilst trying to
retrofit an OVPL-like clause for intellectual amusement:

1. The copyright grant in (1)(c) reads:
	"to distribute or communicate copies of the Original Work and
	Derivative Works to the public, with the proviso that"

   Does that imply that there is not a grant to distribute or communicate
   Original Works and Derived Works other than to the public (e.g. to
   one individual third party)? I don't think it can be read (nor would
   you want it read) that the proviso is only meant to apply for public
   distribution, but I think it can be read that selective distribution
   is either prohibited (as opposed to "to the public" meaning "to
   third parties").

2. The copyright grant in (1)(c) is conditioned upon compliance with the
   source-code proviso. The patent license in (2) is not so conditioned,
   but only applies to the Original Work and Derivative Works. Clearly
   the point here is that a patent grant only in relation to the works
   themselves is not much use without a copyright grant. I don't think
   this matters (I cannot immediately think why a copyright might expire
   first in a situation we care about), but is there a reason for it?

3. Licensor grants a copyright license under (1). Licensor is defined as
   the owner of the Original Work. A contributor produces a derived work,
   and thus is not (as I see it) a Licensor under the license. However,
   the contributor who distributes under 1(c) must distribute the software
   under "this Open Software License". In respect of the modifications,
   to whom exactly are they granting a license, and how? EG if a third party
   receives the modifications (presumably indirectly via others), what
   grant clause gives that third party the right to the contributor's
   modifications? Where I am stuck here is that (1) is only a grant in
   respect of the Original Work (at least for (a), (d) and (e)), not
   for Derived works (so we cannot say that the original Licensor is
   somehow sublicensing the contributions made). Equally, there seems to
   be no direct grant by the contributor, as even if he does make the
   Derived work available "under this Open Software License" he is not
   the Licensor with respect to the Original Work. Or is the idea that
   the contributor is, with respect to the distributed Derived work,
   the new "Licensor" (as the original license was sublicensable) and
   in respect of that distribution and new license, the derived work is
   (in the second license) an new original work (in which case the
   definition of Licensor is misleading, as he the distributor of a
   derived work is not I think best described as its owner).

4. This probably arises from a similar confusion. (6), (7), (10), (11),
   (14) etc. seem only to refer to the Original Work. Is that intentionally
   asymmetric or does each contributor have their own "view" of the 
   Work? EG (6) appears to prohibit removal of attribution notices from
   the Original Work, but not from Derived Works (e.g. new notices put
   in by contributors). This is a non-issue if every Derived Work when
   distributed constitutes somehow a new Original Work under the license.

5. I am going to bring up (7) again. The effect of the last sentence appears
   to be that in a jurisdiction which restricts (even slightly) disclaimer
   of warranty, there is no license granted at all. Is that the intention.


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