[License-discuss] a GPLv3 compatible attribution for MIT/BSD?

Clark C. Evans cce at clarkevans.com
Thu Feb 2 06:21:10 UTC 2012

On Wed, Feb 1, 2012, at 11:33 PM, Richard Fontana wrote:
> A key thing which I've seen abused is an elimination of the intended
> limited scope of the "Appropriate Legal Notices" requirement. While in
> theory a GPLv3 licensee may be subject to this requirement under some
> circumstances, the way one implements ALN is up to that licensee, and
> cannot be mandated by the upstream licensor. Yes, "reasonable author
> attributions", including in some cases graphical logos, may have to be
> "preserved", but one could do so in a far more minimalist fashion than
> the upstream licensor had done, for example.

The limited scope here is important and critical for something 
like this to both socially acceptable and implementable.  The 
flexibility is important, since each platform, technology, UI 
toolkit, and application might have its own style and limits.

In summary, a license term would require attribution within an
About dialog or something like it.  Perhaps along side a dozen or
more other attributions and legal notices.  The primary question
becomes what does reasonable mean?

The best I can come up with is a copyleftish like requirement, 
where you leave it vague and ask for "commensurate prominence 
and stylistic treatment" as compared to the works own branding.  
In my opinion, when you do open the ALN, attributions should 
be visible and convenient to explore.  While not at the same
level as a works' own branding, not completely buried within
a long enumeration of legal notices and license texts.  

Finally, there's one word that concerns me, *preservation*, it
seems this limitation might apply attributions in an ALN.  For 
them to be preserved, they must already exist in something that 
would qualify as an ALN?  What if it is a library... with no 
interactive interface?  Could you ask that attribution come from
a packaging Manifest (debian/control, EGG-INFO, or equivalent).



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