[License-discuss] FAQ entry for slight variations in licenses?
lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Fri Mar 8 03:44:20 UTC 2013
Richard Fontana wrote:
> One missile: The idea that you would need a lawyer, competent or
> otherwise, to be involved in such review, though personally appealing
> from a guild-aggrandizement standpoint, seems highly dubious, and
> probably sends the wrong message.
Dear Richard, my fellow guild-member:
As people who would be personally aggrandized by people consulting us
("competent or otherwise"), we should declare that it is really foolish to
entrust your copyrighted works to amateur legal efforts. Would you complain
about the guild-aggrandizement of those who would remove your gall bladder?
Would you entrust your health and your welfare to your fellow engineers?
Bruce Perens reminded us earlier that amateur license drafting efforts
caused a whole lot of grief for Jacobsen, and our community spent a lot of
(mostly donated) legal fees making sure that that license was honored
despite its amateurishness. It took an appeal to the CAFC to rescue our open
source licensing paradigm. Let's not encourage the same mistakes in future
As for the expense and nuisance of lawyers reviewing "trivial" modification
in licenses, that's an education problem that OSI could address. Especially
valuable would be them teaching people about the foolishness of having
hundreds of variants on the BSD and MIT licenses that do almost nothing
legally or practically different under copyright than the original licenses.
From: Richard Fontana [mailto:fontana at sharpeleven.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2013 6:04 PM
To: license-discuss at opensource.org
Subject: Re: [License-discuss] FAQ entry for slight variations in licenses?
On Thu, Mar 07, 2013 at 05:01:03PM -0600, Karl Fogel wrote:
> "Many older licenses have a variety of minor variations in the
> language. Unfortunately, it is not possible for OSI to review every
> variation, so we cannot say if a given variation is approved.
> However, if you have a competent lawyer review the variation and you
> conclude that it is minor and could not possibly have any legal
> signifance, in terms of the license being compatible with the Open
> Source Definition, then if you use that license and call the licensed
> software 'open source', there is at least a possibility that any
> subsequent discussion with the OSI about it would go well. Please use
> good judgement and be conservative in this situation."
> Not terribly much more meaningful, really, but maybe enough for most
> people to work with & do what they need to do? :-)
> Comments, missiles welcome...
One missile: The idea that you would need a lawyer, competent or otherwise,
to be involved in such review, though personally appealing from a
guild-aggrandizement standpoint, seems highly dubious, and probably sends
the wrong message.
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