question before attempting an update on AFL

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at
Wed Oct 29 23:17:46 UTC 2008

Comments below. /Larry Rosen

Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (
3001 King Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
707-485-1242 * cell: 707-478-8932 * fax: 707-485-1243
Skype: LawrenceRosen

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Cengiz Gunay [mailto:cgunay at]
> Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 3:36 PM
> To: license-review at
> Subject: question before attempting an update on AFL
> Hi,
> I am an open-source program developer working in Academia. I have been
> using the Academic Free License 3.0 for an open source toolbox I authored.
> But now I need something that AFAIK none of the existing OSI licenses
> offer: an obligation to cite one of my scientific publications about the
> toolbox in publications resulting from the use of my toolbox.

[LR:] Such an "obligation" is contrary to open source principles. No open
source license can require that. You can always request a citation, though;
see below.

> This is a form of attribution, but so far all the attribution notices I
> saw were either specific to opening a splash screen in a software or
> keeping a attribution preamble within the source code. What I need, I
> believe, is a completely separate concept than these. Therefore, I thought
> I should add an optional clause to AFL 3.0 and post it here.
> My questions to you are:
> 1) Are you aware of an existing open-source license I could use rather
>    than modifying AFL? Specifically, if the attribution clause of a
>    license is vague enough, maybe I could specify my attribution terms in
>    the copyright statement.

[LR:] Under AFL 3.0, you can insert something like the following in your
source code and it will remain with your source code forever:

   I would appreciate your citing to one of my scientific publications
   in publications resulting from the use of this toolbox. Here's the



> 2) Would you be willing to consider an update to AFL?

[LR:] I don't know who you're asking, but as for me, no, not for this.

> 3) If you're ok with an update, what would be the best way to implement
>    this? To leave the license as simple as possible, for instance I could
>    specify that there's an additional, optional "attribution condition"
>    enclosed with the source code to which the licensee has to adhere. I
>    guess first I need to legally define the works or publications
>    resulting from the use of my software.

[LR:] There's a lot to consider if you want to specify such things in your
license. But then it won't be open source.

/Larry Rosen

> Thanks for your attention,
> Cengiz Gunay
> --
> Postdoctoral Fellow
> Prinz Lab, Dept. of Biology, Emory University
> 1510 Clifton Rd., Room 2172, Atlanta, GA 30322, U.S.A.
> cgunay at  cengique at 	cengique at
> Lab: +1-404-727-9381	Home/Cell: +1-678-559-8694
> ICQ# 21104923, cengique@{,Skype}
> --

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