For Approval: Socialtext Public License ("STPL")

Ross Mayfield ross.mayfield at
Thu Mar 22 15:57:53 UTC 2007

The draft does not require that the logos  be "large", merely
prominent. This requirement provides flexibility since the
requirement of prominence will vary depending on the product and the
other  material on the screen. This attribution provision is from an
OSI approved  license (the Attribution Assurance License) adopted
after OSD  10. Consequently, we believe that the provision should have
a strong  presumption of acceptability. Otherwise, OSI approval would
be meaningless as a  guide . We do not understand the  source of the
burdensome standard:  it is not in the OSD and many approved licenses
impose obligations which may be  viewed as "burdensome". We believe
that the "burdensome" requirement is too  subjective and that
objections should be based on the OSD.  For example,  the MPL, itself,
 requires "You must cause all Covered Code to which You  contribute to
contain a file documenting the changes You made to create that
Covered Code and the date of any change" and   "If Contributor has
knowledge that  a license under a third party's intellectual property
rights is required to  exercise the rights granted by such Contributor
under Sections 2.1 or 2.2,  Contributor must include a text file with
the Source Code distribution titled  "LEGAL'' which describes the
claim and the party making the claim in sufficient  detail that a
recipient will know whom to contact."   Even if the  standard of
avoiding "burdensome" requirements is accepted, the major concern  you
express is the possibility that so many developers or companies  will
adopt the STPL type license and that those products will be combined
so that the GUI will be overwhelmed with logos. This problem would
require that  many companies adopt the STPL type licenses for their
product because only an  "Initial Developer" can impose this
requirement; for example, a company  modifying the STPL licensed
product could not add their logos. The  first assumption required for
this problem to arise is that  many developers and companies will
adopt this approach. It would not apply  to products licensed under
the GPL or BSD. Yet the experience of the open source  community  in
the two years since the first use of the MPL and  attribution has been
to the contrary: the MPL and attribution has not been  widely adopted:
 only a limited number of companies have adopted this  approach.
Second, the products which are combined must all use the STPL  type
licenses, not BSD, GPL or other open source licenses. Such licenses do
not  require attribution. Third, even if the combination of products
requires the use  of multiple logos,  the limited requirement of
"prominence" can be met by  adjusting the size of the logos. Once
again, even with the more rigid  requirements of  MPL and attribution,
this problem has not  arisen. Finally, since the STPL type licenses
are non exclusive and if  the problem arises, a developer or company
can obtain a  license under different terms.

We do not agree that the  requirement that the display of "sufficient
duration to give reasonable notice to the user of the identity  of the
Initial Developer". It gives the licensee flexibility and  establishes
a standard based on the action of the human  eye.


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