For Approval: Broad Institute Public License (BIPL)
rivard at MIT.EDU
Fri Jul 14 14:43:01 UTC 2006
Dear BIPL Discussion Group:
I am writing on behalf of MIT. It's not clear to me if this is how
the process works, but the group has raised a few issues on which I
would like to comment.
It appears from discussion that there are three concerns raised about
the BIPL license:
1. MIT does not explicitly license MIT-owned patent rights that
might cover the open source software.
2. The license isn't fair because the BIPL requires "contributors"
to license their patent rights that cover their contributions, while
MIT does not do the same.
3. The license is unlikely to be "used."
Here are my comments:
1. The requirements for OSI certification do not include a
requirement that the originator of the software offer a license to
originator owned patents. As has been pointed out in the discussion
group, MIT's position on not offering a patent license in the BIPL
is consistent with the GPL, the BSD license, the MIT license, the
Educational Community License, and others.
2. There is a lack of parity in treatment of the Originator of the
code and future contributors to the code. This is true. MIT will
not offer the patent license; however, the requirement on
contributors was an attempt to procure for users as many "freedom to
use" rights as possible. If this disparity in treatment is so
abhorrent to OSI, it is easily remedied. MIT will delete from the
BIPL all references to any patent grants from contributors. Thus the
BIPL will simply be another open source license that is silent on
3. I do not understand the last comment from the list. The software
is what is used. The license is the mechanism by which the software
is used. If no one contributes to the development of the software
because they do not like the license terms, that is ok. The fact
remains that the software remains freely and openly available for use
by the public, which I thought was the goal. Further, "use" or
"usability" is not one of factors that is stated as a requirement for
General comment: MIT's BIPL license, as submitted, complies with
each and every factor listed on the OSI site for achieving
approval. Nevertheless, if the approval committee demands parity of
treatment among MIT and the contributors, MIT will delete all
references to patent licenses in the BIPL. If this remedy is
acceptable to OSI in order to achieve approval, please let me know
and the change will be made.
Karin K. Rivard, Asst. Director and Counsel
MIT Technology Licensing Office, Room NE25-230
Five Cambridge Center, Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone: (617) 253-6966; Fax: (617) 258-6790
Email: rivard at mit.edu
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