[License-review] Volunteers for tagging licenses

Pamela Chestek pamela.chestek at opensource.org
Wed Feb 28 02:26:14 UTC 2024

On 2/25/2024 1:41 PM, Dirk Riehle wrote:
> Hi Pamela, all:
>> In June 2023, the License Review Working Group completed its work 
>> revising the license review process. There was an outstanding task 
>> that grew out of the Working Group, which was to create tags for the 
>> approved licenses that could be used as an aid in filtering approved 
>> licenses for their characteristics.
>> There are two stages to this task. The first stage is to create a 
>> list of tags to be attached to licenses. There is already a 
>> preliminary list 
>> <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1svyrUgE6xwzaNO4xnhTT0-pHPblwBm__BArtttkQWxk/edit?usp=sharing>, 
>> so we should be able to complete this task in a fairly short period 
>> of time.
> I looked at the list and wondered about its purpose. The tags doesn't 
> say anything about rights, presumably they are all the same for open 
> source licenses. But they also don't say anything about disclaimers 
> and prohibitions?
> If this is primarily about obligations, I wanted to point out that 
> German lawyers created a comprehensive system for explaining license 
> obligations, including instructions on how to fulfill them, using some 
> form of pseudo code ("if this do that"). I'm talking about the OSADL 
> folks though I think this stuff is still paywalled.
> I'm not sure the OSI is up for it but some authoritative model of 
> license obligations and how to fulfill them would be great. The tags 
> don't have to state how the obligations should be fulfilled, however, 
> their completeness and quality would make it much easier to develop 
> such instructions based on an authoritative ontology (hierarchical 
> list of tags).
I should have been clearer about that list. That was about 10 minutes of 
brainstorming and will be reconsidered and refined as part of this task. 
I think that there aren't rights listed because any open source license 
is a grant of all rights with some return obligations, rather than any 
limitation on the rights granted. But I would be interested to hear if 
that's not true.

What do you mean by "disclaimers and prohibitions"? Can you give me 
examples of what you believe fall into that category? There is a variety 
of choices for copyleft, which I might consider "prohibitions," but what 
are you thinking of?

One thing we're not undertaking is to provide advice on compliance, 
license choice, etc. There are several reasons for that, one of which is 
that advice in those areas is fact-specific and will often require the 
exercise of legal judgment, which is not the OSI's role. Instead, we 
intend for the tags to be tools that those who do provide that advice 
can use to help them in their advising work.


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