[License-discuss] GPL and proprietary WebAPIs

Chris Travers chris at metatrontech.com
Sun Dec 25 00:15:57 UTC 2011

On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 6:17 PM, Chad Perrin <perrin at apotheon.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 04:50:14PM -0800, Chris Travers wrote:
>> On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 9:49 AM, Chad Perrin <perrin at apotheon.com> wrote:
>> > On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 03:38:04AM -0800, Chris Travers wrote:
>> >>
>> >> Thus in general I think one is generally better off talking with
>> >> upstream projects and trying to get them on board.
>> >
>> > Take the most restrictive reasonable interpretation of both if you want
>> > to play it safe.  After all, a change in the upstream project's
>> > maintainership could get you in a lot of trouble if you rely entirely on
>> > the legally non-binding word of a project maintainer.
>> I think one could easily read the GPL v3 and the 2-clause BSD licenses
>> (and hence every other similar permissive license) as requiring
>> incompatible things.  If we want to take the most restrictive
>> reasonable interpretation of both, these licenses are incompatible,
>> which is somebody nobody really believes.
> [snip a bunch of relevant stuff]
> How does anything you said change anything I said or make it untrue?

All I am saying is there are practices which are almost certainly safe
and which are incompatible with an idea of taking the most restrictive
 views of  both licenses.

Suppose that at some point the BSD license is shown in court not to
permit relicensing without adding copyright-worthy code changes.  Is
anyone really going to say that makes it incompatible with the GPL v3?
 Or are folks like Moglen and RMS going to read the GPL v3 in a
different way to assure it is compatible?  I would personally think
that interpreting the GPL v3 in a way that runs counter to accepted
community norms would be a great way to go from being controversial to
being irrelevant.

I would argue instead that for all practical purposes, established
norms provide a social protective influence in the gray area.  I don't
know to what extent they provide protection in court, but I think they
certainly affect relative costs of bringing things to court in the
first place.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

More information about the License-discuss mailing list