[License-review] International Licenses: Québec Free and Open-Source Licence (LiLiQ)

Kevin Fleming kevin+osi at kpfleming.us
Thu Sep 17 14:00:07 UTC 2015

As I understand copyright law (IANAL, of course), and the existing FOSS
licenses, this statement is not correct:

"There would still be a contract between a licensor and a licensee, but
only when a right granted by the license is exercised. In other words,
someone who merely download and use a software under the LiLiQ is not a
licensee and as such, you are right to say that there is no contract
between that person and the department or agency."

Every OSI-approved license that I've read grants explicit permission for
use of the software, because without such a grant copyright law would
disallow even plain 'use' (since 'use' almost invariably involves copying
the software to some extent). That would mean that there *is* a contract in
place if someone exercises their right to use the software, if the license
agreement is deemed to be a contract.

On Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 1:01 AM, Christopher Sean Morrison <brlcad at mac.com>

> > In 2015, the Government of Québec has released the source code of a
> geomatics software that took years to create (IGO – [
> https://github.com/infra-geo-ouverte/igo ]).
> Kudos and appreciation!  Always thrilled to see other Government open
> source efforts!  It’s the good fight.  Let me preface my comments saying
> they have no bearing on your OSI approval and are but a layman review.
> > - The concern to elaborate a license as simple as possible, with
> different reciprocity (copyleft) levels, while maintaining compatibility
> with other well known FOSS licenses.
> Wow, that sounds like an incredibly complex set of objectives for
> (several) legal documents written in a different language from those
> licenses you aim to be compatible with (even with a certified translation,
> legal nuance).
> > 1. Survey of existing major FOSS licenses (BSD, Apache, GPL v2 et v3,
> > Findings : Most licenses are written in English without official
> translations in French.  This fact alone ruled out most of the licenses,
> since all contracts entered into by the civil administration must be
> written in French according to the Charter of the French language act. The
> licenses that have official French versions were considered but some of
> their provisions were not acceptable for our Government.
> >
> > 2. Adapt an existing license.
> > Findings : To adapt an existing license requires the copyright owner
> authorization which can be subject to an heavy authorization process.
> Despite the fact that an existing license would had been used, the adapted
> one would have still be considered as a new license, albeit very similar to
> the original.
> This seems highly foreign to me, pun intended.  I would be surprised if
> anyone would have any standing under US copyright law in asserting a
> copyright claim on license terms.  Is that tested or different under
> Canadian copyright law?  It’s akin to a recipe or formula and, regardless,
> would seem contrary to the very nature and intended function of license
> terms.  Given that, I’m surprised you didn’t consider “1.5 Translate an
> existing license".
> Certified translation from a backing Government body would certainly add
> weight to translation credibility and limit license proliferation.  There
> are 83 languages spoken by at least 10 million people .. imagine the mess
> if even half did their own LiLiQ trios.  Egads!
> > English version of the licenses:
> >
> https://www.forge.gouv.qc.ca/participez/licence-logicielle/licence-libre-du-quebec-liliq-in-english/
> 3.4 seems problematic.  What happens when FSF or OSI rescind an
> approval/certification — and it’s not fully clear to me what those terms
> mean regarding the FSF.
> 4.2 seems problematic for certain file types (e.g., image files, zip
> files, other binary files, certain rigidly structured ascii files, etc).
> Could be perceived as a GPL/LGPL incompatibility.
> Overall a nice license, but the overlap of the English version with
> existing licenses is hard to ignore as substantially duplicative.  I
> recognize that this is by design and premised on the  French requirement.
> Cheers!
> Sean
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