[License-discuss] Views on React licensing?

Jim Jagielski jim at jaguNET.com
Fri Dec 2 11:51:27 UTC 2016

Personally, I am conflicted with the idea of exact conditions
and requirements of a LICENSE not being fully specified in
the LICENSE itself. It almost seems like a way to "get around"
at least OSI approval, plus it adds (IMO) confusion. It is
quite possible to have an OSI approved licensed s/w package
be made "non-open source" by careful crafting of the PATENTS
file, which bothers and concerns me.

> On Dec 1, 2016, at 11:26 PM, Richard Fontana <fontana at opensource.org> wrote:
> The OSI has received several inquiries concerning its opinion on the
> licensing of React [1], which is essentially the 3-clause BSD license
> along with, in a separate file, an 'Additional Grant of Patent Rights'
> [2].
> The Additional Grant of Patent Rights is a patent license grant that
> includes certain termination criteria. These termination criteria are
> not entirely unprecedented when you look at the history of patent
> license provisions in OSI-approved licenses, but they are certainly
> broader than the termination criteria [or the equivalent] in several
> familiar modern licenses (the Apache License 2.0, EPL, MPL 2.0, and
> GPLv3).
> 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].
> 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?
> - 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.)
> - if the React patent license should be seen as not legitimate from an
>  OSI/OSD perspective, what about the substantial number of
>  past-approved (if now mostly obsolete) licenses that incorporated
>  patent license grants with comparably broad termination criteria?
> - should Facebook be encouraged to seek OSI approval for the React
>  license including the patent license grant?
> Richard
> [1] https://facebook.github.io/react/
> [2] https://github.com/facebook/react/blob/master/PATENTS
> [3] http://www.elcaminolegal.com/single-post/2016/10/04/Facebook-Reactjs-License
> [4] http://lu.is/blog/2016/10/31/reacts-license-necessary-and-open/
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