Viral permissiveness

Steve Thomas steve.thomas.private at
Tue Apr 21 14:13:33 UTC 2009

Hi again

No joy as yet regarding pro bono advice. The self-imposed deadline for
the charity 'Scottish Business in the Community' [1] expires in 1
week, but I was told by their friendly and doubtless capable
representative that I'd be unlikely to receive help. After that, I'll
phone the IP practices here in Edinburgh and Glasgow one-by-one.
There's an academic at the Edinburgh University School of Law (Mr
Andres Guadamuz [2]) who has published many analytical papers on FOSS,
but I'll not approach him yet for fear of "Free" software bias. That's
no reflection at all on him, mind, but rather on my now-suspicious
nature re academia, lawyers and lawyers in academe.

However ...

I've enclosed a draft (v0.01) of a license I've been working on. It's
a modification of the OSL v3.0. The idea is to license the collective
work of elided code fragments, partitioned into files residing in
directories, and to license various (in practice, most) individual
fragments under this license too. The provisional name is the 'Very
Reciprocative License'. Section 1(c) should be of most interest. The
license would exist in two variants: one with, and one without, clause
1(c)(iv). It allows 'academic' licenses (terminology following Rosen
in [3]) to be "internally viral". Have a look, you'll see what I mean.

I'd be delighted to hear any of your comments. You've all already been
most helpful. My intention, if our moderator allows, is to iron out
problems with the contract here and with any pro-bono help I'm
fortunate enough to receive, and to also solicit further opinion here
before formal submission for OSI approval.

Thanks for your help thus far,


My GnuPG key ID is 0x82314996
Preferred keyserver: hkp://
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The License applies to any original work of authorship, (the "Original Work") whenever an owner of copyright subsisting in it (the "Licensor") has placed the following licensing notice adjacent to the copyright notice for the Original Work:

Licensed under the Very Reciprocative License version 0.01

1) Grant of copyright license. Licensor grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license, for the duration of the copyright, to do the following:

a) to reproduce the Original Work in copies;

b) to prepare derivative works based upon the Original Work;

c) to Deploy copies of, or derivative works based upon, the Original Work (in either case, the "Deployed Work") with the proviso that:
    for all original works of authorship W1 that comprise part, or the whole, of the Available Source of the Deployed Work
    for all original works of authorship W0 that W1 is based upon
    for all licenses L that granted the right to the author, or authors, of W1 to prepare W1 based upon W0
    the material in W1 that is contributed by the author, or authors, of W1, as distinguished from any preexisting material employed in W1, is licensed under the terms of L; and
    for all occurrences O of original works of authorship in the Available Source of either the Original Work or the Deployed Work
    for all original works of authorship W that the work of O is, or is based upon
    the Available Source of the Deployed Work must include a complete collection of clear, conspicuous and correct copyright and licensing notices pertinent to W which are moreover clearly, conspicuously and correctly associated to each other and, in the case that O is in the Available Source of the Deployed Work, to O; and
    all patent, trademark and attribution notices appearing in the Available Source of the Original Work are retained in the Available Source of the Deployed Work; and
  iv) the Available Source, and the Source, of the Deployed Work are the same.

d) to perform the Original Work publicly;

e) to display the Original Work publicly.

2) Grant of patent license. Licensor grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license, under patent claims owned or controlled by the Licensor that are embodied in the Available Source of the Original Work as furnished by the Licensor, for the duration of the patents, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, have made, and import copies of, or derivative works based upon, the Original Work.

3) DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY. The Original Work is provided under this License on an "AS IS" BASIS and WITHOUT WARRANTY, either express or implied, including, without limitation, the warranties of non-infringement, provenance, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY OF THE ORIGINAL WORK IS WITH YOU.

4) Limitation of liability. To the extent possible under applicable law, the Licensor shall not be liable to anyone for any indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising as a result of this License or the use of the Original Work including, without limitation, damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and all other commercial damages or losses.

5) Exclusions from license grant. Neither the names of Licensor, nor the names of any contributors to the Original Work, nor any of their trademarks or service marks, may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this Original Work without express prior permission of the Licensor. Except as expressly stated herein, nothing in this License grants any license to Licensor's trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets or any other intellectual property.

6) Termination. This License will terminate automatically and immediately upon:
  a) failure by You to honor the conditions in 1(c);
  b) commencement by You of an action against Licensor, or any licensee, alleging that the Original Work infringes a patent.

Sections surviving termination of this License

7) Jurisdiction, venue and governing law. Any action or suit relating to this License may be brought only in the courts of a jurisdiction wherein the Licensor resides or in which Licensor conducts its primary business, and under the laws of that jurisdiction excluding its conflict-of-law provisions. The application of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods is expressly excluded. Any use of the Original Work outside the scope of this License or after its termination shall be subject to the requirements and penalties of copyright or patent law in the appropriate jurisdiction.

8) Attorneys' fees. In any action to enforce the terms of this License or seeking damages relating thereto, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its costs and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in connection with such action, including any appeal of such action.

9) License of this license. This license itself is copyright (c) 2005 Lawrence Rosen, copyright (c) 2009 Steven Thomas. Permission is granted to copy or distribute the verbatim text of this license. Modified versions of the text of this license may be also be copied or distributed subject to the following conditions: you may not indicate in any way that your modification is the "Open Software License", "Very Reciprocative License", "OSL" or "VRL" and you may not use those names in a name for your modification.


D0. "License" is defined as
  this license, named the Very Reciprocative License.

D1. "You" is defined as
  an individual or a legal entity exercising rights under, and complying with all of the terms of, this License. For legal entities, "You" includes any entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with you. For purposes of this definition D1, "control" means (i) the power, direct or indirect, to cause the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding shares, or (iii) beneficial ownership of such entity.

D2. "Deploy" a work is defined as
  to distribute or communicate the work, or to use the work at the behest of someone.

D3. "Source" of a work is defined as
  the work in the form in which it was humanly authored, inclusive of all such works specific to such primary material that determine mechanical generation, or interpretation, from it.

D4. "Available Source" of a work is defined as
  the part of Source of the work that is included in the work or conveniently available to the public at zero price.

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