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

Vladimir Slyshchenkov vaslys at hotmail.com
Thu May 29 09:37:34 UTC 2014

Hi Richard, 

Did you have opportunity to look closer into the license? 

My understanding is that for this license approval by OSI is indeed very
important. Without authoritative confirmation of compliance of the license
with FOSS principles any prospects of successful practical implementation of
the license become rather uncertain. On the other hand, if the license is
eventually approved, in my view, this could serve an additional factor for
development of FOSS in Russia. 

Your response and feedback will be much appreciated. I will be glad to
respond your questions, make amendments to the license' text or provide
additional explanations, if required. 

Thank you very much in advance. 


-----Original Message-----
From: license-review-bounces at opensource.org
[mailto:license-review-bounces at opensource.org] On Behalf Of Vladimir
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:51 PM
To: 'License submissions for OSI review'
Subject: Re: [License-review] For approval - Russian Permissive Free
Software Licence

Hi Richard, 

This is some update on 'no liability clause' in the license. This addresses
the point you  raised in your e-mail below.

Section 4.2. excludes liability for damage in result of defects of the
program or IP infringement. Section 4.3. further adds the licensor is not
obliged to correct defects or errors of the program. The scope of this
exclusion per section 4.2 is limited to consequences of use of the program.
This exclusion of liability provides to the licensor protection in addition
to the "as is" rule per section 4.1.

Section 4.5. aims to provide 'catch-all' wording on exclusion of liability
both of the licensor and the licensee. Unlike section 4.2., the scope of
exclusion per section 4.5. is not restricted, section 4.5 targets liability
for any and all breaches of the  license terms and conditions made by the
licensor or the licensee. 

 In result of section 4.5. the licensee is not liable before the licensor
for  breach of the licensee's only obligation under the RSL (section 1.4).
In case of such breach the licensee may remain liable before the developer
under the statutory liability (if the licensor and the developer are
different persons). With regards the licensor, given the special rules of
sections 4.2, the effect of section 4.5. on the licensor's position can
become significant if either the parties have specifically imposed
obligations on the licensor or any additional licensor's obligations are
implied from statute. 

Liability for contractual breach implies payment of damages or fines, etc.,
or performing actions additional to proper performance of the obligations.
Hence, exclusion of liability per section 4.5 does not mean that the party
in breach is discharged from proper performance. For example, if the
licensee is not liable for breach of section 1.4 this means the licensee
does not pay damages to the licensor, however, is it still open to request
from the licensee to perform the obligation under section 1.4. 

The distinction between sections 4.2 and 4.5. seemingly in somewhat expanded
way expresses the same idea which is reflected, for example, in section 8 of
EUPL v1.1.: the licensor is not liable for any damages "arising out of the
Licence or of the use of the Work". In the context of the RSL "arising out
of the Licence" refers to section 4.5 (but in the RSL this exclusion of
liability works to the benefit of both parties),  whereas "arising out of
the use of the Work" refers to section 4.2. 

Any your comments and feedback will be much appreciated. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Vladimir Slyshchenkov [mailto:vaslys at hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:49 PM
To: 'License submissions for OSI review'
Subject: RE: [License-review] For approval - Russian Permissive Free
Software Licence

Hi Richard, 

Thank you very much for your feedback. 

The translation issue you spotted is indeed very important for proper review
and evaluation of the license. This license was drafted only by me as a
single document both in Russian and English. There were no pre-existing
licenses added in. The English version was also proofread by a UK lawyer
(who however did not know Russian). Unfortunately, from practical
perspective it is a bit difficult to arrange another English translation: I
do not know a licensing lawyer fluent in English/Russian who would be ready
and willing to perform such translation. 

Although the English version represents a translation from Russian, in my
submission for practical purposes it is feasible to view the English version
as a separate document drafted in English: the English version can be used
separately, not in conjunction with the Russian document. The English
version can look confusing but according to my understanding this is
explained not by possible translation omissions but by more material
differences between Russian and US substantive legal rules and approaches to
drafting licensing documents. This highlights the aim of this license to
serve as 'localization' of FOSS principles for Russian legal environment:
unfortunately, Russian lawyers equally find popular FOSS licenses confusing
in a number of important aspects. 

Could you probably give some details on the concerns you have with respect
the English version? - I will be glad either to suggestion amendments or to
provide explanation. 

Some outlines on the RSL' structure can be helpful for further discussion: 

1. There is explanation on application of the license to concrete programs
before the license' terms and conditions: This explanation is not part of
the license text. In particular, this explanation includes the words you
asked about in your other e-mail: " Such grant of rights to use the program
shall not infringe the rights of third parties to this program...". These
words do not have any immediate legal effect: they merely make clear the
license text shall be used in a proper legal way, e.g. if the third party's
code used in the modified program was received under copyleft, the developer
cannot release the modified program under this license, etc. 

2. The license' text (first the Russian version, and the English text
immediately after the Russian) starts after the explanation (in English)
under the words: "Terms and Conditions:". 

3. There is preamble in the beginning of the license, it starts after the
references to the license' version and the date. This preamble is a part of
the license text, it outlines the main terms and conditions (FOUR FREEDOMS
... CONCLUSION OF THE LICENCE AGREEMENT) mostly for readers without legal

4. License grant: Sections 1.1. and 1.2. 

5. The license represents a license agreement, it hence requires offer and
acceptance: Sections 2.1., 2.2 and 2.3. 

6. The program is delivered "as is": Section 4.1.

7. No liability clause: Sections 4.2 and 4.3.

8. The license includes express rules for identification of the licensor and
the licensee of a concrete program. This seems adequate taking into account
a bit 'bureaucratic' legal environment in Russia: Sections 5.1. - 5.3.

9. Section 7.4. provides detailed regulation on application of the license
to a concrete program. These provisions could be moved to the explanation
(which is not part of the license text) but eventually it seemed to me
better to keep these regulations as part of the license' terms and
conditions. These are important provisions which are also linked to the
rules on acceptance of the license in Section 2.2. 

Hope this helps. Looking forward to your response. 

Thanks in advance. 

Best regards,

-----Original Message-----
From: license-review-bounces at opensource.org
[mailto:license-review-bounces at opensource.org] On Behalf Of Richard Fontana
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:19 PM
To: license-review at opensource.org
Subject: Re: [License-review] For approval - Russian Permissive Free
Software Licence

On Sun, 16 Mar 2014 15:03:21 +0400
Vladimir Slyshchenkov <vaslys at hotmail.com> wrote:

> This is to formally submit for OSI License Review a new FOSS license, 
> Russian Permissive Free Software Licence (RSL).

In general I find the English text of this license quite confusing overall.
I suspect some of this might be a translation issue, but I don't think that
can be all of it. Unfortunately I don't read Russian. 

I almost feel like you wrote three different licenses here and combined them
into one. Possibly that matches some established tradition in Russian
software licensing (much as we see certain formulaic features of many US
English-language software licenses, even in the open source area). Here I
see different sections covering similar subject matter (for just one
example, limitation of liability seems to be addressed a few different ways
at different points in the text) and I'm concerned that there may be subtle
contradictions between different parts of the license that seem to address
the same issue.

I wonder if you might be able to ask someone else with Russian/English
fluency to provide an independent translation? Then I'd at least know
whether something I find confusing is a mere English idiom issue or whether
it's something more substantive or structural.

 - Richard

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