For Approval: TrueCrypt Collective License Version 2.0

Tomas Novak counsel at
Wed Jul 12 16:35:02 UTC 2006

lrosen at wrote:

> The entire SpikeSource stack is distributed as a collective work
> under a single OSL 3.0 license. Individual components of that stack
> (including Linux, MySQL, JBoss, Apache, and Python/PHP/Perl) are
> licensed by their authors under a variety of other open source (and
> a very few binary) licenses. Some of those stack components require
> additional licenses for commercial use, but that's explained up
> front so users aren't surprised.
> What's the problem you're trying to solve?

Hi Larry,

In our opinion, such a collective work (which is similar, e.g., to a 
magazine or newspaper) is substantially different from our work. In the 
case you mentioned, there are several identifiably separate products -- 
it is a collection of clearly separate products. The user will 
naturally, and rightfully, expect that each of the products is made 
available to him or her under a single license (possibly different from 
the license covering the other products in the collection). However, we 
have a single product (from the user's point of view) so when the user 
reads the phrase "this product" in one of the component licenses, he or 
she will very likely (and understandably) believe that the term of the 
license applies to the whole product, which is not true.

For example, one of the component licenses states that "this product" 
may be alternatively distributed under the terms of the GNU General 
Public License. This could mislead the licensee into believing that 
TrueCrypt can be distributed under the terms of GPL. Therefore, we need 
a larger superordinate license that will specify that the term "this 
product" actually does not apply to "this product" as a whole but only 
to portions of this product. 

We need the definition of the term "component license" to be part of 
the license under which TrueCrypt is distributed. We also need to 
retain the component licenses. We believe that this is the most 
suitable solution.

Thank you very much for your comments. 

Tomas Novak

TrueCrypt Foundation

More information about the License-discuss mailing list