What exactly is "redistribution?"

Chris DiBona cdibona at gmail.com
Sat Apr 14 04:14:15 UTC 2007

Traditionally (I am the one answered on your blog) the majority of open
source licenses (and open source developers) do not consider web performance
to be distribution, but honestly, for something like this I feel better
attaching the copyright (but I do not feel the same way about GPL covered
code, as it explicitly defines distribution and does not include web
performance in that definition)

In that particular case, it was an employee not clear on our internal
tracking practices. That's been rectified and it should have been pushed out
by now with a bracketing copyright notice so that our friends (and I mean
that without irony, I like those folks very much) at Yahoo get some credit.

Additionally, we (google) often credit people when there is no reason in the
license to do so. Sometimes we'll also put a bsd licensed credit in
code.google.com so that we don't have to push out non-compressed copyright
text millions of times a day. These are usually done after talking with the
copyright holder and getting thier read.

I consider the licenses a good starting point, but knowing the developers
can help a lot more.


On 4/13/07, Zach Leatherman <zachleatherman at gmail.com> wrote:
> According to the BSD license, redistribution and use are permitted
> given three stipulations are true.  However, the first two
> stipulations only refer to redistribution and none of the three refer
> to use.
> http://www.opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php
> Last week I found some of Yahoo's CSS source code being used on
> Google's Personalized Homepage.
> http://www.zachleat.com/web/2007/04/05/google-using-yui-grids-css/
> Some have argued that Google doesn't need to attribute the source to
> Yahoo, because the BSD license with which Yahoo has released the code
> only restricts redistribution and not basic use.  This would seem to
> make the most sense.
> My question is, what is the difference between distribution and use in
> a web environment?  Because the files are hosted in their application,
> they are not really redistributing the code as a whole, just 4 or 5
> lines of it.  Just for my curiosity...
> Thanks, Zach

Open Source Programs Manager, Google Inc.
Google's Open Source program can be found at http://code.google.com
Personal Weblog: http://dibona.com
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