[License-discuss] License which requires watermarking? (Attribution Provision)

Richard Fontana rfontana at redhat.com
Wed Dec 19 05:34:33 UTC 2012

On Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 08:58:16PM -0800, Rick Moen wrote:
> As you have noticed, some firms have now adopted the clever if sleazy
> -- my interpretation -- ploy of purporting to use GPLv3 but sliding a
> mandatory badgeware notice requirement for every single UI page by
> claiming those are Additional Terms within the meaning of GPLv3 clause
> 7.
> I personally think that is a total crock, and hope it gives rise to
> litigation at some point:  Clause 7 is a mechanism for adding
> _exceptions_ to the conditions GPLv3 would otherwise require.  The dodge
> of claiming you can add _restrictions_ via that clause or similar
> methods such as hanging a restriction off GPLv2 -- and the sheer
> dishonesty of pretending that is still open source -- almost certainly
> doesn't fool anyone.

Actually, section 7 of GPLv3 was intended to allow a limited form of
badgeware (as well as certain other kinds of restrictions). But the
example cited by the original poster:
goes well beyond what the FSF intended to authorize. 
Unfortunately, I have seen a number of such misuses of GPLv3/AGPLv3 7(b).

As for adding a similarly-broad badgeware requirement on top of GPLv2,
it would be enough of a stretch to argue that limited GPLv3-acceptable
badgeware provisions are acceptable under GPLv2.

I believe that the OSI's approval of CPAL (the license you may be
intentionally not naming) was, in retrospect, wrongly decided.

 - RF

More information about the License-discuss mailing list