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

Pamela Chestek pamela.chestek at opensource.org
Sat Jun 12 16:29:25 UTC 2021

Thanks Steve, the withdrawal is noted.


Pamela Chestek
Chair, License Committee
Open Source Initiative

On 6/10/2021 1:11 PM, Steve Pieper wrote:
> 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 
> <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,
> Steve
> On Wed, Jun 9, 2021 at 8:26 PM Josh Berkus <josh at berkus.org 
> <mailto: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
>     <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2021-May/thread.html>
>     -- 
>     Josh Berkus
>     Member of License-Review
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