[License-review] For approval - Russian Permissive Free Software Licence

Henrik Ingo henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
Mon Mar 17 20:48:41 UTC 2014

Hi Vladimir

Without focusing on the actual text of the proposed license, I'd like
to inquire further into the need for this license to exist.

It seems that with the exception of two licenses coming out of the EU,
it is rather rare to develop licenses for a specific jurisdiction. In
fact many would argue, and in my observation this includes FSF as the
author of the GPL family of licenses, that they specifically want
their licenses to be applied globally and reject adding a choice of
law clause. With this in mind, the first question would be, how could
international users consume and reuse code under the RPFSL?
 - Maybe because it is a permissive license this is not a problem, but
it would still be good to have a discussion ensuring those of us not
experts in Russian copyright law, that the license in fact does
facilitate that.

In the case of the EU authored license EUPL, it seems it is primarily
intended to be used by the EU administration or possible nation state
administrations. In this light it could be argued it is of net-benefit
to the FOSS community, as it hopefully causes more open source
software to be released. Otoh it does not make the license
proliferation situation worse, since other parties are not actively
encouraged to use it. My question here is, who do you expect to be
primarily using the RPFSL? Would the adoption of this license
primarily cause more FOSS software to be released that wouldn't be
released without this license? Or would it cause regular Russian FOSS
developers to use this license instead of more popular FOSS licenses
(thus increasing unwanted license proliferation)?

And most importantly, the EUPL is designed to explicitly make it
"downstream compatible" with other popular FOSS licenses, such as
GPLv2. Hence someone developing (for example) GPLv2 software can
safely copy EUPL code and just use it as if it were GPLv2 and ignore
the fact he might not fully understand the EUPL license itself, nor
copyright law in EU states. (At least that's how I always understood
the motivation behind EUPL, others will correct me if this is totally
wrong.) Is the RPFSL similarly compatible with some internationally
used and popular FOSS licenses? (In your case you could probably
target Apache or some similar permissive license?)

Finally, your last clause seem to designate as the competent court of
law 1) a court operating within the laws of Russian Federation, 2) at
the place of residence of the defendant. Assuming I'm the defendant in
a dispute, and live in Finland, how would this clause be interpreted?

henrik, finland

On Sun, Mar 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM, Vladimir Slyshchenkov
<vaslys at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> This is to formally submit for OSI License Review a new FOSS license,
> Russian Permissive Free Software Licence (RSL). A plain text copy of the
> license in Russian and English is attached. There is explanation on
> application of the license before the terms and conditions, this explanation
> is not part of the license text.
> The license was drafted by me upon my own initiative, the drafting process
> and the drafts of the license were open for discussion by the FOSS community
> in Russia. The public discussion forums (in Russian):
> http://www.siberium.ru/web/community/blog and
> http://www.pcweek.ru/foss/forum/forum32/topic7576/. My presentation (in
> Russian) on legal issues of FOSS and the prospects of a Russian FOSS license
> made at Russian Open Source Summit (April 2013):
> http://www.pcweek.ru/foss/conference/ross2013/slyshhenkov.pdf .
> Supporting data:
> 1.      Rationale: The license represents a legal document specifically
> drafted under Russian law in order to facilitate distribution of free and
> open software mostly in the Russian legal environment. It is submitted that
> compared to various popular licenses drafted under US law (or under laws of
> other countries) the RSL could be easier accepted and applied by Russian
> developers and software users. The license shall contribute to smooth
> implementation of principles of FOSS into specific legal system and legal
> practice in Russia. Such effective implementation could be better achieved
> by way of a license which contains legal terminology, legal devices and
> approaches generally known to the Russian public. The RSL is hence made
> bilingual, in Russian and English. The license aims not to replace other
> FOSS licenses (this is often practically or legally impossible) but to
> provide a clearer legal framework and additional  opportunities for
> development of FOSS in Russia.
> 2.      Distinguish: The RSL is a permissive, not copyleft, license. The
> license provides for free redistribution and access to the source code, and
> allows modifications and derivative works (sections 1.1, 1.2 and 2.3). But
> the license does not request the program remains free and open when
> re-distributed.
> 3.      Legal review: There was no legal review or analysis of this license
> made by third parties.
> 4.      Proliferation category:  Special purpose licenses.
> Thanks in advance for your evaluation and feedback, comments or amendments
> to the license.
> Vladimir.
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henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
+358-40-5697354        skype: henrik.ingo            irc: hingo

My LinkedIn profile: http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/henrik-ingo/3/232/8a7

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