Request for approval: EUPL (European Union Public Licence)

Russ Nelson nelson at
Sat Mar 15 16:26:40 UTC 2008

Matthew Flaschen writes:
 > In my opinion, it would be unwise of the OSI to approve the non-English
 > language versions at this time.  This is because translation errors can
 > affect the meaning, the majority of the OSI board is only fluent in
 > English (as far as I know), and hiring independent translators familiar
 > with legal terms would be cost-prohibitive.
 > This means, "The European Commission may put into force translations"
 > must be removed.  Particularly with the binding "new version" clause,
 > this is not satisfactory.

You are correct, however, there are other potential solutions.  For
example, one solution would be to say that a licensee may switch
between translation of a license.  That way, when we approve the
English-language version, someone always has recourse to a license
which is OSI-approved.  And it puts the onus for ensuring that all
translations have the same legal effect on the licensor.

 > That clause, stating that a "new version of the Licence becomes binding
 > for You as soon as You become aware of its publication."
 > allows you to make the license non-OSD compliant at any time, by putting
 > out a new version or translation.

Yes, this clause is not acceptable.  *I* could accept "new version of
the License becomes finding for You as soon as You become aware of its
approval by the OSI as an Open Source license." but I recognize that
other people may feel differently.

 > First, I think that law is itself fairly draconian, and would have a
 > chilling effect if enforced.  See for instance the unofficial Debian
 > Dissident Test (, which
 > says, "Consider a dissident in a totalitarian state who wishes to share
 > a modified bit of software with fellow dissidents, but does not wish to
 > reveal the identity of the modifier..."

Free Software in a totalitarian state?  Why don't we also imagine
frozen steam at the same time?

 > It seems to me that, "This Licence shall be governed by the law of the
 > European Union country where the Licensor resides or has his registered
 > office ... This licence shall be governed by the Belgian law if the
 > Licensor, other than the European Commission, has no residence or
 > registered office inside a European Union country."
 > does indeed always impose European law (even when neither party resides
 > in the EU), which is not reasonable.

Sure it is.  It's just a choice of legal systems, just a
jurisdiction.  Otherwise you're asking lawyers to draft a legal
document without knowing what system of laws it will be subject to.
Let's play a card game without Hoyle's and see if we can do it without

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