[Fwd: FW: For Approval: Generic Attribution Provision]

Chuck Swiger chuck at codefab.com
Fri Dec 15 17:16:15 UTC 2006

On Dec 15, 2006, at 6:52 AM, Craig Muth wrote:
> IMO the original issue raised by the SugarCRM people is important.
> For projects that want to open source a compelling and useful project,
> the prospect of your code being rebranded (with little or no
> modification) and/or sold (or supported for money, arguably a close
> cousin to selling) with no "by the way these guys did all the work" is
> a daunting one.

When you choose to open source a project, you are explicitly putting  
it out into the world for other people to use, change, modify,  
resell, support, and so forth.

If a project isn't OK with people reselling their software, then the  
people writing the code don't actually want to put it under an open  
source license.  They should simply use a restrictive license with a  
"no commercial use" clause instead, and call it "source available",  
"freeware", "trialware", or some such....

> Pulling someone else's code into yours and
> distributing it under your project's name is de facto attributing it
> to yourself.

Changing an existing attribution when you have not written or  
extensively modified that software is considered in extremely bad  
taste; if the changed attribution could be considered fraudulent (ie,  
deliberately misrepresenting who the original author was), they would  
probably constitute a violation of copyright.

I've only heard of this happening a handful of times (the g4u issue;  

> If the end result was that you added something of value
> to the code, then it was good for open source.  If you did not improve
> the code, but only rebranded and profited from it, then I would argue
> that it was *very bad* for open source (in that it discourages coders
> from releasing their code as open source) and the spirit of open
> source will visit you three times in the night:)

There's nothing wrong with profiting from reselling open source  
software.  Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian and Novell/SuSE all do so, as do  
various BSD-derived platforms such as MacOS X....


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