For Approval: Educational Community License 1.0

Christopher D. Coppola chris.coppola at
Thu Apr 19 12:22:24 UTC 2007

> Christopher D.Coppola wrote:
> > I'm writing to request approval of the Educational Community  
> License 2.0.  ECL
> > 2.0 is intended to replace ECL 1.0 ( 
> licenses/ecl1.php)
> > and it is closely modeled after the Apache 2.0 license in an  
> effort to reduce
> > the burdens of license proliferation.
> As far as I can tell, the addition of:
> "Any patent license granted hereby with respect to contributions by an
> individual employed by an institution or organization is limited to
> patent claims where the individual that is the author of the Work is
> also the inventor of the patent claims licensed, and where the
> organization or institution has the right to grant such license under
> applicable grant and research funding agreements. No other express or
> implied licenses are granted."
> is the only substantial change you made.  Is this correct?
That is correct Matthew.
> With regarding the specific phrasing of that paragraph, it should
> probably say "affiliated with a Legal Entity" and "the Legal Entity  
> has
> the right to grant".
Your suggestion seems a little cleaner that what's there. I'll run it  
by a few other stakeholders.
> It was also pointed out that MIT has used (and indeed wrote) the MIT
> license (  Some
> people argued that the "use" word in that license is a clear implicit
> patent grant to all claims infringed by the software and owned by the
> licensor.  It was even suggested that was part of /why/ MIT made  
> the MIT
> license.  Casual searches indicate other members of the Sakai  
> coalition
> have used the MIT license
> (,
>, etc.).  So it's difficult for  
> me to
> agree you can't make broad patent grants when it seems you already  
> are.
Is it generally agreed that a license like the MIT license implictly  
grants a patent license as you describe was pointed out? I'm not a  
lawyer, but in all my discussions with lawyers and others on this  
topic that's the first time I've heard that. One of the reasons we're  
wanting to improve our license is to make explicit patent grants. MIT  
and Berkeley have been very involved in these discussions. They are  
key contributors to our projects and I'm assuming, based on many  
conversations with them, that they did not believe (or understand)  
that their use of the MIT license implicitly does what you're  

One other thing about these projects. They are somewhat unique in  
that an institution's participation in the projects and the  
commitment of resources (people and dollars) to the projects comes  
from institutional leadership that may be looking more closely at  
these kind of issues than previous involvement in open source that  
may have emerged bottom-up.
> However, your license is an improvement in at least one way.  It  
> doesn't
> allow the patent grant to be superseded after the fact if the  
> university
> later makes an exclusive patent grant (supposedly by accident).   
> It's an
> apparently irrevocable grant of licensable patents, but only for the
> individual developer(s) (not the whole university).  It still has the
> enormous problem that it allows the university to sue the
> users/redistributors of its own program (if a separate patent is
> infringed), but it doesn't allow a grant to be taken back.
> Interestingly, MIT proposed an idea like this but never actually
> submitted a version of the license with it.
Thanks for the comments. We realize that this isn't the ideal  
situation. We are also committed to working on the problem as a  
community. This interim step... Using an approved ECL 2.0 will be a  
big step in the right direction for our communities.

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