[License-discuss] Views on React licensing?

Christopher Sean Morrison brlcad at mac.com
Fri Dec 2 05:30:48 UTC 2016

Interesting, I hadn’t heard about the React licensing yet.  Thanks.

> The 'Additional Grant' has attracted a fair amount of criticism (as
> did an earlier version which apparently resulted in some revisions by
> Facebook). There was a recent blog post by Robert Pierce of El Camino
> Legal [3] (which among other things argues that the React patent
> license is not open source). Luis Villa wrote an interesting response
> [4].

Mr. Pierce’s first criticism point about the grant itself being unnecessary is spot on to me.  One cannot "use the software” without implying a patent license; and the BSD-styles have such an incredibly well-established industry understanding that (to me) it’s ludicrous to consider it could be interpreted any other way.  I would very much like to know what [profanity] company would try to pull such a stunt as plaintiff.

The only utility of React’s PATENT file is the rather broad retaliation.

> What do members of the license-discuss community think about the
> licensing of React? I see a few issues here:


> - does the breadth of the React patent termination criteria raise
>  OSD-conformance issues or otherwise indicate that React should not
>  be considered open source?

At best, it could be argued as some form of implicit discrimination (#5) or revocation of right to redistribute (#1).  Retaliating against an “any" plaintiff vs only a specific class of plaintiff (e.g., Apache 2.0), though, isn’t very compellingly different.  Seems like a stretch to me.

> - is it good practice, and does it affect the open source status of
>  software, to supplement OSI-approved licenses with separate patent
>  license grants or nonasserts? (This has been done by some other
>  companies without significant controversy.)

This is also a direction that has been discussed and is being pushed by some of the White House (code.gov <http://code.gov/>) and other Gov't lawyers.

In cases like “CC0 + patent grant”, it may make sense given CC0 explicitly says there’s no patent grant. (Yes, I know CC0 is not (yet) an OSI license.  That should change.)  In the case of the implicit permissives, though, I think it’s very bad practice.  Creates unfounded FUD and license proliferation motivation, counterpart licenses explicitly with/without a patent grant.


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