OVPL Summary, Take 3

Alex Bligh alex at alex.org.uk
Mon Sep 19 12:20:46 UTC 2005


> Under the OVPL the ID is special.

I think not as special as you think :-) see below.

> Consider this case:
> "ID" distributes to "B".
> "B" creates a derivative consisting of additional source code modules,
> and distributes them to "C", but then "B" goes out of business.
> "C" uses "B"s improvements and distributes a binary, but not sources, to
> "D".
> Can the ID sue "C" to get "B"s improvements?  Not under the GPL.

The ID can still sue C (or D) under the GPL, simply because C (or D)
does not have a valid license to ID's code (assuming what C/D is working
with is a derivative of B), because the GPL license is conditional on C's
providing source (or publishing generally) to D.

And in either case, C (or D) can get himself out of this hole by simply
publishing the source.

Whilst I'm sure there are differences, the above isn't one of them!

> Secondly, the GPL requires the distribution of the source code
> for the version you distribute.


> The OVPL requires the license-back of "each Future Version".
> This is way more intrusive and can be used to get at versions not
> even ready for production.  Under the OVPL, the ID can demand access to
> CVS repositories weekly, daily, hourly, intruding and spying on the
> efforts of competitors.
> The more I read your explanations of this concern, the more I think
> the OVPL is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

No. The OVPL requires the license-back of "Licensed Modifications" (not
Future Versions) - the latter concept I will explain below. Licensed
Modifications are Modifications that are (in essence) distributed. The
obligation to provide source code is the same, and thus similar to the GPL.

	1.10.    "Licensed Modification" means Modifications that You
	contribute, distribute, or otherwise make available whether in
	Source Code form or in Executable form.

and from 3.3:
	If You do not make all of your Licensed Modifications irrevocably
	generally available to the public at large, then, upon written
	request of the Initial Developer, You must promptly provide, at the
	Initial Developer's cost, a copy of all Licensed Modifications
	together with the date at which each grant thereto became

"Future Versions" refers to the *ID's* Future Versions (note the words "by
the Initial Developer" in the definition). So the phrase in 3.3 "in respect
of Future Versions" is actually a limiting phrase - it means the ID can
only use a contributor's Licensed Modifications in Future Versions (as
defined) and not for arbitrary other purposes (but makes it clear they can
be used by the ID under any license).

	1.5       "Future Versions" means future versions of the
	Original Software and any Modifications thereto used, reproduced,
	modified, displayed, performed, sublicensed, distributed or
	otherwise made available by the Initial Developer under the terms
	of this License or otherwise.

There is no concept of the Contributors future versions.

So I think that particular one is actually a sheep after all, unless I've
misunderstood your point completely, in which case please correct me.


More information about the License-discuss mailing list