[License-review] MXM compared to CC0

Chuck Swiger chuck at codefab.com
Fri Mar 2 08:29:01 UTC 2012

On Mar 2, 2012, at 12:12 AM, Carlo Piana wrote:
>> The MXM license was obviously not OSD-compliant because you cannot discriminate against commercial use of  software and still be "open source".
>> I think the actual effect of the CC0 license includes a covenant or promise by the Affirmer to not bring action to users of the CC0-licensed work for any reason, including patent rights, trademarks, or anything else.  If that isn't what folks mean to do, then they should find a different license to use than CC0.
> I don't think you have it right.

That's OK, I'm not surprised that you hold such an opinion.

> MXM did not discriminate at all against commercial exploitation.

Sure it did.  Quoting from Message-ID: <49DCA566.2040603 at piana.eu>:

"I have insisted and obtained, however, that an explicit patent covenant
be inserted, to the effect to exclude from any patent concern all who
don't distribute the compiled version of the software and to those who
compile it only for internal purposes without direct commercial

Both the repeated use of the word "exploitation" and the MXM definition:

1.0.1. "Commercial Use" 
means distribution or otherwise making the Covered Code available to a third party.'
[ ... ]
2.1. General.
This software has been developed as a reference implementation of ISO/IEC 23006.
The Initial Developer and Contributors hereby irrevocably covenant (“Patent Covenant”) not to assert their Patent Claims over the Covered Code, regardless whether You have obtained a proper license on said patents and as long as the other provisions of this license are respected,  limited to any use of this software in Source Code, excluding any distribution as Executable or execution through runtime, debuggers or emulators. Patent Covenant is however extended to the compilation and use of a compiled version (as Executable) of this software for study and evaluation purposes only, with the exclusion of distribution of compiled code or any other commercial exploitation.

...are clear enough, are they not?

> It had a patent covenant that you might as well have disregarded, for source only distribution.

Source-only isn't sufficient; OSD #2 states "The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form."

> It was entirely agnostic versus patents. The covenant was an additional provision, not a part of the licensing conditions.  You might say that this is confusing as people would believe they have a license to patents, but I believe the same can be said for CC0.
> In this regard, you might want to explain why you believe that "No trademark or patent rights held by Affirmer are waived, abandoned, surrendered, *licensed* or otherwise affected by this document." [emphasis added] does match with the idea that permission is given to use the software under the patent rights of the licensor. Which is precisely what MXM said: you don't have the patents of the licensor or of the contributors.

CC0 doesn't include a license grant.  It does include a covenant not to bring action for any reason against users of the Work, and even uses terms like "royalty free" and "the public can reliably and without fear of later claims of infringement build upon, modify, incorporate in other works, reuse and redistribute as freely as possible in any form whatsoever and for any purposes, including without limitation commercial purposes...."

...which is very distinct from the language and intent of the MXM.


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