First Post / Question Regarding CPOL 1.02

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Mon Oct 5 23:38:41 UTC 2009

John Cowan wrote:
>> Just offhand, it's not compliant with the OSD #1 due to clause 5d:  
>> "You agree not to sell, lease, or rent any part of the Work. This does  
>> not restrict you from including the Work or any part of the Work  
>> inside a larger software distribution that itself is being sold. The  
>> Work by itself, though, cannot be sold, leased or rented."
> The same is true of Artistic License 1.0 works under clause 5 of that
> license.  (Indeed, this license reminds me sharply of the Artistic.)
> However, as RMS pointed out, it's trivial to overcome this: just package
> a 5-line "hello world" program along with the Work, and then you can
> sell or rent the combination however you please.

I think it actually is compliant with OSD #1, because it allows
distribution "as a component of an aggregate software distribution."

> Another problem with the CPOL is clause 7, which purports to require "You"
> to indemnify the Author and Publisher even against their own misfeasance.
> For example, suppose that Alice has written some proprietary software,
> and the source code has fallen into the hands of Bob, who uses some or
> all of it in a COPL-licensed work.  This work is then further distributed
> by Charlie.  Alice sues Charlie for copyright infringement, but under
> clause 7, Charlie cannot countersue Bob for *his* copyright infringement
> that induced Charlie's innocent one.

But surely Charlie cannot countersue Bob under many OSI licenses.  CPL
says "no assurances are provided by any Contributor that the Program
does not infringe the patent or other intellectual property rights of
any other entity."  Of course, whether a particular court would uphold
this is a different issue.

Matt Flaschen

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