License Committee Report for December 2009

Bruce Perens bruce at
Thu Dec 24 01:46:51 UTC 2009

Sigh. It seems like much ado about nothing.



Dave Page wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 11:02 PM, Russ Nelson <nelson at> wrote:
>> Dave Page writes:
>>  > Where can I find out the result of this submission?
>> Hi, Dave, sorry for not getting back to you.  I was away in India
>> during this board meeting, and didn't convey the board's decision to
>> you.  The board wishes to know if you have considered relicensing
>> under the MIT License?  If you construe your work as a collective
>> copyright of all contributors, then any copyright holder is free to
>> license under any terms as long as they compensate all other copyright
>> holders.  In the open source world, relicensing from your license to
>> the MIT license is a change of no effect, so no compensation would be
>> due.
> Hi Russ,
> As I understand it (based on advice from SFLC about a year ago in
> relation to a different project), we wouldn't be able to claim
> collective copyright as we inherited the original code and licence
> from UC Berkeley. It was only appropriate for the other project
> because from day one, all code was attributed to the defined group
> that made up the project team - and even then, we were advised to get
> explicit permission to relicence from all contributors and to avoid
> relying on collective copyright. A large part of the reason for that
> was that we had a German developer who disagreed with the change, and
> German law does not allow individual contributors to relicence.
> Regardless of that however, the project's core team has previously
> discussed and rejected any change of licence.

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