[Fwd: FW: For Approval: Generic Attribution Provision]

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Jan 20 21:49:59 UTC 2007

Quoting Andrew C. Oliver (acoliver at buni.org):

> I guess my objective is to boil the arguments down to their metal ATM.
> I started out disagreeing with this #6 argument, but now can be 
> convinced of this for completely different reasons.  I feel that some of 
> the reasoning is flawed, I don't think THIS license (as I read its 
> intent structural issues aside) makes business use impossible to the 
> extent that it would violate #6.

Depends on which "this" licence, I think.  As a reminder, my reply to
Ben Tilly concerned MuleSource's MPL 1.1 + "Exhibit B" badgeware
licence -- which is one of the particularly bad ones.  It did not
address Socialtext's Generic Attribution Provision patch paragraph.

(Which, again, I will point out, is simply _not a licence_.  If
compatible with open source at all, whether GAP passes OSD muster might
well depend on which of OSI's 58 approved licences it's applied against.
Which presumably is part of why OSI requires submission of entire
licences, and resubmission of changed licences, in the process at 
http://www.opensource.org/docs/certification_mark.php#approval that
Socialtext ignored.)

> Here is my #6 and possibly #1 argument
> Doesn't brand logo display probably have a real monetary value?

Logo economic value doesn't in itself have relevance to OSD-compliance.
When I participated in making the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card, it
resulted in my name being in the credits displayed in the disk contents,
which probably had non-zero economic value to me in the long term -- but
made zero difference as to whether the contents are open source or not.

However, let's see where you're going with this:

> However, there is a practical problem.  Depending on the size and 
> message contained in the logo -- it COULD run afoul:
> 1. "This software is supported by clubbing baby seals" with a cartoonish 
> display of a baby seal being clubbed... would probably prevent the 
> sierra club and others from using my software.
> 2. "Hummer drivers all will burn in hell" with a caricature of a hummer 
> driver on fire -- would prevent Hummer, athiests groups and other groups 
> from using the software.
> 3. An inordinately LARGE logo could be of monetary value and could make 
> the software impractical to use in business even if only on the splash 
> screen. 

Yes, quite.  Getting back to the GAP paragraph (as opposed to
MuleSource's "Exhibit B" licence), the copyright holder's ability to
mandate a "display" of arbitrary size and logo contents, which must be
preserved indefinitely by downstream users, means it can functionally 
bar any (or most) competing commercial use.  (Ben Tilly would say this
means merely that competitors "are ALLOWED to use the software; they
just don't WANT to" -- which I call sham reasoning.)

> If these are valid arguments then you have to then accept the 
> impracticality of any logo attribution license unless OSI is going to 
> get in the business of evaluating each logo itself to see if when used 
> it runs afoul of the OSD...unless you believe in "self-policing" ;-)

Well, this is perhaps excessively pessimistic.  Imagine a logo
requirement for an original copyright holder logo + company name + URL
not to exceed 120 by 120 pixels that must be on an "About" screen for
any derivative that has a user interface.  

Now, users of that licence who abuse it to mandate obscene or disruptive 
logos or company names or URLs would be being jackasses and injuring
their works' reuse prospects but not preventing the licence from being
used for open source.  (It's always been easy to abuse open source
licences in a way that results in proprietary or otherwise impaired
code.  Consider for example declaring that a binary codebase is
BSD-licensed, but never getting around to issuing source code.  That 
code remains proprietary, even though the licence is not.)

Cheers,                   "Teach a man to make fire, and he will be warm 
Rick Moen                 for a day.  Set a man on fire, and he will be warm
rick at linuxmafia.com       for the rest of his life."   -- John A. Hrastar

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