[License-review] For Approval: libpng license, version 2.0

Henrik Ingo henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
Sat Nov 17 20:06:48 UTC 2018

Hi Cosmin

On Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 11:02 AM Cosmin Truta <ctruta at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you for sending me all of that detailed information regarding
> the legal foundations that I can contact, Henrik. I was not aware of
> them. I will consider contacting them, in the future.
You're welcome. They're a great resource for projects like yours.

> > If you modify libpng you may insert additional notices immediately
> > following this sentence.
> Henrik Ingo wrote:
> > [...] it would be worth looking into the alternatives you
> > mentioned, such as moving the contributors to a separate flat list.
> Since the lists of previous contributing authors have been integrated
> into the past libpng license text, I'm not touching those. But
> besides that, all contributors, past, present and future, will be
> mentioned in a separate flat list from now on.
> https://gist.github.com/ctruta/5e276eb83213f9d66bf61539156830c5#file-authors-md
My logic was that if you could go back with a proposal drafted by a
respected open source legal expert, it may be more persuasive. But maybe
not. I fully understand that as the major contributor to the project is no
longer alive, it's not easy to negotiate with his last stated opinion on
the matter. Even if his estate might be legally empowered to have such a
dialogue, it might not be the right thing to do. Even then, my suggestion
was that talking to a real lawyer wouldn't hurt (in this respect, as well
as in general).

> Getting this sort of support from SFLC or SFC is a good suggestion,
> > but acceptance by those groups tends to take a long time. Finding
> > other pro-bono help might be appropriate.
> I have already been asked, by eagerly-awaiting users, when will the
> new ready-to-ship fixes and improvements come out officially as
> libpng 1.6.36. My response to them was "after the OSI review".
> (I understood that OSI recommends to only ship software with the new
> license *after* the review.)
> I'm not saying this to mean that I absolutely must skip a legal
> review. But if a lengthy review over a lengthy period of time is
> something that I could avoid, and if I could just go on the beaten
> path of existing practice instead, then I'd like to do exactly that.
> The ownership of libpng has been passed on from Guy Eric Schalnat and
> Group 42, Inc., to Andreas Dilger, and then to Glenn Randers-Pehrson,
> with no legal issues in the process. I hope I can succeed Glenn, in a
> similar manner, just as well.
As a developer myself, I fully understand.

I think a silver lining here is that if the patches to the to-be-released
version are all done by yourself, you would not be doing anything
irrevocable by doing a release with what you have, and then seeking legal
advice on the topic of how to craft the new "last version" of libpng
license. For example, you could just do a new release without touching the
LICENSE file at all. (But note that this may not be compliant with the old
licenses, which forbid publishing changes without clearly attributing
changes to the new author.) Even here, it's in *your own interest* to have
a lawyer involved to protect yourself, but I don't see any lasting harm to
the community and your users if you wanted to go ahead and do a release
quickly without waiting for legal advice.

Hope this helps. Not much more someone like me can say here.

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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