WebM license resolution.

Chris DiBona cdibona at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 19:07:26 UTC 2010

>From the blog:


You'll see on the WebM license page <http://webmproject.org/license/> and in
our source code repositories <http://webmproject.org/code> that we've made a
small change to our open source license. There were a couple of issues that
popped up after we released WebM at Google I/O a couple weeks ago,
specifically around how the patent clause was written.

As it was originally written, if a patent action was brought against Google,
the patent license terminated. This provision itself is not unusual in an
OSS license, and similar provisions exist in the 2nd Apache License and in
version 3 of the GPL. The twist was that ours terminated "any" rights and
not just rights to the patents, which made our license GPLv3 and GPLv2
incompatible. Also, in doing this, we effectively created a potentially new
open source copyright license, something we are loath to do.

Using patent language borrowed from both the Apache and GPLv3 patent
clauses, in this new iteration of the the patent clause we've decoupled
patents from copyright, thus preserving the pure BSD nature of the copyright
license. This means we are no longer creating a new open source copyright
license, and the patent grant can exist on its own. Additionally, we have
updated the patent grant language to make it clearer that the grant includes
the right to modify the code and give it to others. (We've updated the
FAQ <http://www.webmproject.org/about/faq/#licensing> to reflect these
changes as well.)

We've also added a definition for the "this implementation" language, to
make that more clear.

Thanks for your patience as we worked through this, and we hope you like,
enjoy (and most importantly) use WebM and join with us in creating more
freedom online. We had a lot of help on these changes, so thanks to our
friends in open source and free software who traded many emails, often at
odd hours, with us.

Not from the blog:

I didn't want to list the people who helped on the blog, as I didn't want to
imply endorsement. but if they pipe up, I'll say thanks by name :-)

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