How permissive is BSD? (Was: Implications for switching licenses mid-stream)

John Cowan cowan at
Thu Apr 24 15:58:45 UTC 2008

Wilson, Andrew scripsit:

> de miminis (or de minimus, my spell checker seems to accept both)

Neither "de miminis" nor "de minimus", but "de minimis".

There was a young fellow named Rex
With a diminutive organ of sex.
   When charged with exposure, 
   He replied, with composure,
De minimis non curat lex.

> AFL 3.0 makes it even clearer.  Sec. 1(c) says flat out that original
> works, and derivatives, may be distributed "under any license of your
> choice that does not contradict the terms and conditions, including
> Licensor's reserved rights and remedies, in this Academic Free License."
> Camp A would clearly be correct if this argument were about AFL.

Well, up to a point.  For example, a licensee can't sublicense under the GPLv2,
because that license does not permit the reservation of the rights and remedies
mentioned: for example, the GPL does not forbid the removal of attribution notices
(as distinct from copyright notices) in derivative works, whereas the AFL does.

> Community practice mostly seems to tolerate camp A trivial relicensing.

The FSF's view (in their FAQ about why they don't relicense X Windows
under the GPL) agrees.

The experiences of the past show                John Cowan
that there has always been a discrepancy        cowan at
between plans and performance.        
        --Emperor Hirohito, August 1945

More information about the License-discuss mailing list