For Approval: Broad Institute Public License (BIPL)

David Dillard david_dillard at
Fri Jul 14 14:58:44 UTC 2006

A couple of comments:
1. You're correct that previously approved licenses have done (or not
done) things that MIT is repeating in this license, some of which people
have complained about.  Keep in mind that as experience grows people
learn that mistakes have been made and try not to repeat them.  I think
it's safe to say that there are some previously approved licenses that
would not be approved if submitted today based on that additional
2. Regarding being "used" there is a concern about the license itself
being not being reused by other projects.  Many people are concerned
about license proliferation and they want licenses to be reusable to
help minimize license proliferation.  Thus, they would prefer to not
approve a license that will be used by a single project.
--- David


	From: Karin Rivard [mailto:rivard at MIT.EDU] 
	Sent: Friday, July 14, 2006 10:43 AM
	To: license-discuss at
	Cc: Rory Pheiffer
	Subject: Re: For Approval: Broad Institute Public License (BIPL)
	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 patent rights.
	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
OSI approval.  
	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
	Thank you.
	Karin Rivard

	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

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