[License-discuss] Improvement to the License-Review Process

McCoy Smith mccoy at lexpan.law
Tue Aug 25 17:11:52 UTC 2020

My point was not that there must be some credential hurdle one must meet in order to be satisfy the “legal review” test, but that you not be able to say – as the Vaccine License submission did – “The license was prepared by a licensing professional. In the client's best interest, the legal review cannot be made public” without identifying that person (in the same way the submitter was not identified).


So basically, putting a non-pseudonymous name to both the submitter and to the legal reviewer.


From: Andrew DeMarsh <andrew.dema at gmail.com> 
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2020 10:04 AM
To: mccoy at lexpan.law; license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
Subject: Re: [License-discuss] Improvement to the License-Review Process


I would at least like to suggest that at minimum wording be added to the  requirements for L-R such that the license submission must be made with the express purpose of a License be considered for actual real world use and that the request be made with a professional intent for a usable OSI License to exist which fills a need not addressed by previously approved licenses. This should deal with this kind of issue and other licenses that are merely a rebranded form of another license. I only wish to point out that the OSI be careful when trying to qualify what counts as a legal person they worked with as this could harshly affect some people's ability to participate/problem solve issues specific to their country if the definition is too exact. (some countries may have exceptionally few people that deal specifically in the idea of software licensing or deal with it at all and specific wording requiring the person to be a Lawyer specialising in software licensing would put an undue burden on them to be represented).


On Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 12:31 PM McCoy Smith <mccoy at lexpan.law <mailto:mccoy at lexpan.law> > wrote:

In view of the fact that the OSI is going to be forming a committee to
review the process:
https://wiki.opensource.org/bin/Working+Groups+%26+Incubator+Projects/Licens <https://wiki.opensource.org/bin/Working+Groups+%26+Incubator+Projects/License+List+Working+Group/> 
e+List+Working+Group/, here's one thing to consider:

In late 2019, a submission was made to approve the "Vaccine License":
https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2 <https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-October/004420.html> 

The submission purported to satisfy all the criteria required for a
submission (listed here: https://opensource.org/approval), stated that it
had undergone legal review and "was prepared by a licensing professional."
It was filed by "Filli Liberandum," which almost certainly is a pseudonym.

The commenters on this submission pointed out the license did not meet the
OSD, and it was rather quickly rejected by the Board:
https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2 <https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2020-January/004635.html> 

It turns out that the author of this license was Bruce Perens, who now
admits it was "a joke" and a "test"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTsc1m78BUk (scroll forward to 44:00). He
even responded (using his real name and e-mail account) to the
License-Review thread, suggesting that the license that he drafted (and most
likely also submitted under a pseudonym) not be approved:
https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2 <https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-October/004427.html> 

Might it be time to require license submitters to actually identify
themselves, the organization they represent, and the name of the legal
person they worked with in creating and submitting the license?

I know this was a minor blip in the process, but isn't the all-volunteer
Board busy enough that they shouldn't have to go through the motions of
convening a meeting and scheduling a vote on someone's joke proposal?

[I'd also suggest that people caught doing these sorts of non-serious or
pseudonymous submissions not have the right to submit or comment on the
mailing lists in the future]

The opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and not necessarily those of the Open Source Initiative. Official statements by the Open Source Initiative will be sent from an opensource.org <http://opensource.org>  email address.

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