[License-discuss] step by step interpretation of common permissive licenses
cswiger at mac.com
Fri Jan 13 19:22:07 UTC 2017
Computer grammars can have context-free parsers:
The phrase I used was as much a term of art from computer language / formal grammar theory,
much as the terms of a software license involve terms of art from the law.
On Jan 13, 2017, at 11:13 AM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen at rosenlaw.com> wrote:
> Chuck Swiger wrote: <>
> > This is a pretty common mistake that developers tend to make when reviewing licenses. The law doesn't come in a fully denormalized grammar suitable for context-free parsing; more importantly, judges aren't compilers.
> The law DOES come in a "fully denormalized grammar suitable for parsing," but of course no parsing is ever context-free.
> The problem is that many FOSS licenses DON'T use a standard grammar for such important things as "derivative work" or "attribution notices." Developers and their lawyers often write or review licenses without a standard grammar. And then they assume that licensees are mind-readers or "compilers" of that legal code.
> That's the world we live in. Please don't disparage developers alone for this problem.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: License-discuss [mailto:license-discuss-bounces at opensource.org <mailto:license-discuss-bounces at opensource.org>] On Behalf Of Chuck Swiger
> Sent: Friday, January 13, 2017 10:37 AM
> To: license-discuss at opensource.org <mailto:license-discuss at opensource.org>
> Subject: Re: [License-discuss] step by step interpretation of common permissive licenses
> On Jan 13, 2017, at 10:05 AM, Massimo Zaniboni <massimo.zaniboni at asterisell.com <mailto:massimo.zaniboni at asterisell.com>> wrote:
> > I tried interpreting the terms of common permissive licenses following a "step by step" approach, like if they were instructions in programminng code, and I found with my big surprises that doing so they became non permissive licenses, or permissive licenses only using some "border-line" interpretation.
> This is a pretty common mistake that developers tend to make when reviewing licenses. The law doesn't come in a fully denormalized grammar suitable for context-free parsing; more importantly, judges aren't compilers.
> [<LER>] <snip>
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