[License-review] Encouraging discussion around the technicalities of licensing

Florian Weimer fw at deneb.enyo.de
Tue Mar 19 23:38:16 UTC 2019

* McCoy Smith:

> I’m not sure there is *any* license that does not prevent certain
> types of exploitation of the licensed software. Even BSD & MIT require
> preservation of copyright statements and preservation of the license,
> which precludes exploitation by not doing so.
> IMO, the business model of the submitter should be completely
> immaterial, and the license should stand or fall based on whether it
> conforms to the OSD & whether the drafting is sufficiently rigorous
> and clear.  This is one of several propositions I proposed during my
> talk at CopyleftConf on Monday.

If certain conditions are met, like these:

* A new license is proposed for a certain work.

* The work has one copyright owner.

* The new license is proposed by the same copyright owner.

* The copyright owner, being the owner, would not be bound by the
  license, and is thus not subject to some of the incentives that are
  normally associated with licensing decisions.

Then I think it is reasonable to ask the following:

  Could the copyright owner reasonably come into compliance with the
  license if they desired to do so?

The point being that if it is impractical for the folks who control
the code and know it best to achieve formal compliance with the
license, then nobody else could be reasonably expected to pull it off.

And being able to comply doesn't mean to make a business out of it,
just the technical aspects of meeting (copyleft) obligations, and
figuring out what the legal text actual means in a certain setting.

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