a proposed change to the OSD

Forrest J. Cavalier III mibsoft at mibsoftware.com
Sat Oct 26 05:13:32 UTC 2002

> 0) A license may not restrict use or modification of a lawfully
> obtained copy of a work.
> Anybody have problems with this?  Does this have any problems?

Might be nice, but I think it is a bad idea (details below.)

Doing it in haste is a very bad idea.

In a quick look at the database of license clauses and examples at:

I think existing OSI-approved licenses could have clauses which
conflict with the proposed new clause.

First many, many licenses restrict modification, or at least
place conditions on it ("Prominent change notices, preserve
license and copyright notices, patches only, derivatives
must be under this same license i.e. copyleft, etc.)  

It is important to note that although some licenses place
those conditions on the publication of modified versions.
(see license examples for the librock_DM_* group of tags)
other licenses place the condition on just making the
modification! (I don't know if it would hold up in court under a
fair use test, but I think there are licenses which can
be read that way, like the W3C clause 3.) But you might want
to look at the exact wording of all the example licenses for
each librock LIDESC tag starting 'librock_DM_' and the
librock_DERIV_DIFFLIC_0 tag, which is the "copyleft" tag.


This tag means "A notice must be included at run time in
some cases."

See http://www.mibsoftware.com/librock/lidesc/exlibrock_R_PATGRANT.htm
for explanation, with example licenses and clauses, including
the GPL (clause 2c which applies when you modify and distribute.)


This tag means "Redistribution of the original work must include
a royalty-free grant of patent license."  But the clauses themselves
often have reciprocal clauses which could amount to usage 

See http://www.mibsoftware.com/librock/lidesc/exlibrock_R_PATGRANT.htm
for explanation, with example licenses and clauses, including:
        IBM Public License Version 1.0 (clause 2.b)

It is much more common to see licenses which get the 
librock_DM_PATGRANT classifier: "Redistribution of modifications
must include a royalty-free grant of patent license", Many
more examples that need a careful reading to determine if they
confluct with proposed OSD clause 0.  See
(Examples include APSL 1.2, IBMPL 1.0, Jabber, Mozilla)

librock_RUNNOTE_1  "A notice must be included at run time always."

See http://www.mibsoftware.com/librock/lidesc/exlibrock_RUNNOTE_1.htm
for explanation and examples, including the W3C clause 1, which
requires that users be able to read the notice.

librock_PUBMSRC_1C_DEPLOY.  See
for explanation and examples, including the APSL version 1.2, clauses
2.2c and d.

Some licenses always seem to be borderline cases, and the Librock
license database could be more complete.  For example, the QPL
always seems to be a border case.  It has a use restriction in
clause 5:
   5. You may use the original or modified versions of the Software to
   compile, link and run application programs legally developed by you or
   by others.

I am not really sure what that means.  I suppose the only
exclusions it makes are the "illegally developed" software,
such as the software the DMCA outlaws.

Then there are some licenses which have OSD conflicts because
of some clauses, but have other clauses not in conflict with the
existing OSD, that would be in conflict with the proposed clause 0.

(For example, the Sun Community Source License version 2.3
clause 3.b which requires "error corrections [go back to Sun ....]
prior to internal deployment use.")  

We don't care about those licenses, but do we care about allowing
similar license clauses if they don't already conflict?


Learn more about the LIDESC tools and how to use them to
determine license compatibility of combined works at

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