[License-review] request for review of the 3D Slicer License

Steve Pieper pieper at isomics.com
Thu Jun 10 17:11:02 UTC 2021

Dear Josh and everyone -

> Your comments on these would be helpful, thanks!

Thank you for taking the time to read through and discuss the 3D Slicer
license in such detail.  We have been using the license in the current form
for quite a while and are not planning to change it, so you haven't heard
any feedback from me about individual discussion points.

Many people have contributed to the 3D Slicer codebase under the current
license terms, some of whom are no longer living, so I don't believe that
editing the license is an option at this point.  Instead we mainly want
potential users of the code to get a clearer understanding of the
implications of adopting the code for their projects (here's a draft of a
statement on that topic: https://github.com/Slicer/Slicer/pull/5658/files).
As I mentioned in my first email, our main concern is ensuring that the
high quality open codebase is licensed in a way that's workable for use in
medical products.  I believe your discussion here has been very helpful on
that front, so thank you all!

It would have been nice to have the OSI recognize that the license is
consistent with open source, even as a legacy license not appropriate for
us on new projects.  But given your point 1, that the contributor agreement
is out of scope for OSI, it seems we can all agree that the 3D Slicer
license is not a candidate for OSI approval under the existing processes.

Given that, your point 2 is perhaps moot; but I'll say that a primary
concern for me at least is that people not use the 3D Slicer code base to
sell unapproved medical devices that might be unsafe, ineffective, or
otherwise illegal.

Understanding that it's not binding, or even the consensus opinion, I come
away from this discussion feeling that the 3D Slicer license is actually
good for its intended use.  I saw one comment that perhaps Part B alone
would be OSI compatible, and Larry Rosen, who I have met with years ago and
whose writings and opinions I very much respect, went so far as to say that
"I see nothing important in the 3D Slicer License that would make me worry
about using that software as open source *in conformity with US law*".  So
it seems we have gotten everything we could ask for from this process.

If a formal statement is needed, I rescind my request for approval of the
3D Slicer license, but additional feedback is always welcome.

Many thanks again for your efforts on these important topics,

On Wed, Jun 9, 2021 at 8:26 PM Josh Berkus <josh at berkus.org> wrote:

> Mr. Pieper:
> > I'm requesting a review of the 3D Slicer license for Legacy Approval as
> > a Non-Reusable license.
> License-review has had a long discussion of the license[1], and it does
> not look possible to approve it in its current form.
> As this discussion veered off into somewhat of a tangent, let me
> summarize two major blockers discussed with the license to date:
> 1) Bundling the license together with a built-in Contributor License
> Agreement makes it non-approvable
> 2) The explicit legal requirement, particularly regarding export laws,
> is one that OSI cannot approve for more than one reason:
> "You further agree to
> use, reproduce, make derivative works of, display and distribute
> the Software in compliance with all applicable governmental laws,
> regulations and orders, including without limitation those relating
> to export and import control."
> While there might be other parts of the license still under discussion,
> those are the two major ones that would prevent approval as a legacy
> license.
> Your comments on these would be helpful, thanks!
> [1]
> http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2021-May/thread.html
> --
> Josh Berkus
> Member of License-Review
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