[License-review] Request for Legacy Approval of PHP License 3.01

Pamela Chestek pamela at chesteklegal.com
Thu Mar 5 17:40:48 UTC 2020

On 3/5/2020 12:06 PM, VanL wrote:
> Hi McCoy,
> These are interesting questions.
> On Thu, Mar 5, 2020 at 10:04 AM McCoy Smith <mccoy at lexpan.law> wrote:
>     1. Does this license, and it's predecessor PHP License 3.0,
>     satisfy the OSD, specifically OSD 3? I'm thinking particularly
>     about the following requirements:
>       "4. Products derived from this software may not be called "PHP",
>     nor may "PHP" appear in their name, without prior written
>     permission from group at php.net <mailto:group at php.net>.  You may
>     indicate that your software works in conjunction with PHP by
>     saying "Foo for PHP" instead of calling it "PHP Foo" or "phpfoo""
>     This seems to me a bit problematic given it's (AFAIK) not a
>     registered trademark of the software authors. It appears to be
>     restricting certain modifications of the software or the way that
>     licensees may present modified versions of that software.
> My first instinct is to point out that registration is not required to
> have an enforceable mark. PHP is pretty well-known in its space, and
> so I wouldn't be surprised if this provision were fully enforceable
> under common law trademark provisions, and, if needed, the PHP project
> could get a registration pretty quickly as the senior user.
>       "6. Redistributions of any form whatsoever must retain the
>     following acknowledgment: "This product includes PHP software,
>     freely available from <http://www.php.net/software/>"."
>     [BTW: I understand that similar sorts of provisions exist in other
>     OSI-approved licenses; I'm raising the question of whether the
>     general idea of mandatory modification restrictions or mandatory
>     pseudo-trademark acknowledgement obligations are consistent with
>     the OSD]
> More broadly, I don't see a problem OSD #3-wise with limitations on
> trademark rights, assuming that they don't try to tramp on nominative
> use.
Agree wholeheartedly with Van. I read this as not allowing a trademark
use but allowing a nominative use, which is how I read the Apache
license too.
>     2. If this version is approved, will the steward voluntarily
>     deprecate version 3.0, and if not, and if 3.01 is approved, should
>     3.0 be involuntarily deprecated?  I can imagine a scenario where
>     the license list is filled with innumerable dot-releases of
>     license upgrades unless a practice like that is adopted. [Yes, and
>     I know that GPLv2 and GPLv3 are both on the list, but given the
>     substantial differences between the two, that seems to me a
>     different case]
> I foresee a future in which we have almost as many approved licenses
> in the "legacy" category as there are license variations labeled by
> SPDX. License proliferation is a problem, but I am not sure it is
> *today's* problem.
I don't know that there is no software out there using 3.0. If they is,
why would they suddenly become "not open source" simply because there is
a later version of the license?


Pamela S. Chestek
Chestek Legal
PO Box 2492
Raleigh, NC 27602
pamela at chesteklegal.com
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