[License-review] Approval submission for the Qlovatech License

Roland Turner roland at rolandturner.com
Sun Feb 14 02:52:58 UTC 2021

Hi Quentin,

> > What is the urgent problem being appropriately solved here and why is it
> > something that is within the limits of the Open Source Definition?
> *The Problem*
> Consider the author of a software project is implicitly branded as 
> (without a registered trademark) 'AwesomeApp'. ThirdParty makes a copy 
> of this software and distributes 'AwesomeApp' on a popular app store 
> so that users misleadingly believe that they are using the author's 
> version of the project. Perhaps 'AwesomeApp' is recognized as a brand 
> that is updated regularly, does not track it's users, etc, ThirdParty 
> copy could be unmaintained and contain tracking software. 
> Alternatively, perhaps this modified version of 'AwesomeApp' is hosted 
> on a cloud service by ThirdParty and sold as a service to users. Users 
> may believe the service is using the authors version and does not 
> track them . This type of brand confusion hurts both the copyright 
> holders and the users. Filing an international trademark is too 
> expensive for the author at this time.

You've outlined the form that a problem could take, but you've not 
provided sufficient empirical data to determine that a problem actually 
exists, let alone to evaluate its impact. If you elect to submit an 
updated version of the license, I'd suggest obtaining and including in 
the rationale empirical, quantitative data on these impacts on authors 
and users, to the extent that it's available.

OSI faces a serious problem with license proliferation, at least because 
the more approved licenses we have:

  * the more work *every single open source project* selecting amongst
    OSI approved licenses has to undertake in selecting an appropriate
  * the more complicated the approval process becomes because of the
    need to compare with a larger body of existing licenses; and
  * the greater the risk of harmful licenses slipping under the radar
    because of the spreading of review resource more thinly.

There has to be a real problem (material ongoing harm) to warrant 
incurring these costs.

As Pamela points out, this is not a workshop or educational forum, it is 
the input to OSI's formal approval process. If you elect to submit an 
updated version of the license, you might consider developing it in 
cooperation with lawyers with professional competence in copyright law, 
trademark law, and torts[1] and at least some concrete experience with 
open source licensing.


- Roland

1: I suspect that you are barking up the wrong tree entirely. So far as 
I can tell, the lack of formal protection for unregistered trademarks 
doesn't mean that the scenario that you propose is realistic, as the 
common law protections still apply, but correctly characterising the 
tradeoffs requires legal expertise that I lack.

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