[License-discuss] Open source license with obligation to display an attribution?

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Tue Dec 4 17:10:09 UTC 2018

OSD #10 prevents certain kinds of badgeware licenses:


10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral


No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Rationale: This provision is aimed specifically at licenses which require an explicit gesture of assent in order to establish a contract between licensor and licensee. Provisions mandating so-called "click-wrap" may conflict with important methods of software distribution such as FTP download, CD-ROM anthologies, and web mirroring; such provisions may also hinder code re-use. Conformant licenses must allow for the possibility that (a) redistribution of the software will take place over non-Web channels that do not support click-wrapping of the download, and that (b) the covered code (or re-used portions of covered code) may run in a non-GUI environment that cannot support popup dialogues.



From: License-discuss <license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org> On Behalf Of Bruce Perens
Sent: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 8:22 AM
To: license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
Subject: Re: [License-discuss] Open source license with obligation to display an attribution?


Yeah, let's hear the problem statement first.


There are a few issues with "badgeware", software which requires a web-page acknowledgement: First, it makes a legal requirement for simple use, rather than creation of a derivative work. In general, we don't expect simple users to have read the license at all, or to have access to legal counsel. Second is that badgeware doesn't scale. Debian offers around 25K packages. Thus one could easily see a web page with hundreds of badges, where managing them becomes a serious burden to the user.






On Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 8:03 AM Chris Lamb <chris.lamb at opensource.org <mailto:chris.lamb at opensource.org> > wrote:


> What I have in mind is for software that is used to drive a web-site, 
> where we just want to request that a logo with the words "Powered by 
> ACME technology" is displayed on the website.

To me, this smells somewhat like an "Xy problem" where one is asking
about attempted solution rather than your actual problem.

What might be more helpful to you and the rest of the community is to
learn what you are trying to prevent / ensure by such a request.

Best wishes,

Chris Lamb
Open Source Initiative
Email: chris.lamb at opensource.org <mailto:chris.lamb at opensource.org> 
Website: www.opensource.org <http://www.opensource.org> 

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