[License-review] Approval request for ZENTAO PUBLIC LICENSE

Richard Fontana fontana at opensource.org
Fri Jun 24 15:35:29 UTC 2016

On 06/24/2016 03:53 AM, Rick Moen wrote:

> (As an aside, I also think SugarCRM and imitators' use of section 7,
> when last I checked on that usage[1], vastly exceeded the permitted
> scope of notice, e.g., the only notices that may be required to be
> included somewhere in the interactive user interface display are a
> copyright notice and warranty disclaimer if applicable:  That is made
> clear in the licence text's definition of Appropriate Legal Notices.
> Requiring a company logo on every single user interface screen of the
> work and all derivative works exceed greatly what section 7 permits, not
> to mention requiring UI display of legal notices beyond the copyright
> notice and warranty disclaimer.  This misuse is particularly egregious
> since the section 7 wording was edited to its present state at the
> request of SugarCRM, Inc., according to Richard Fontana's post to
> debian-legal a couple of years ago.[2])
> [1] http://linuxgazette.net/159/misc/lg/sugarcrm_and_badgeware_licensing_again.html
> [2] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2011/12/msg00045.html 
> Richard opines in this post that SugarCRM's logo requirement as 
> of mid-2007, in his judgement complied with FSF's intent about how 
> intrusive badgeware might be and still remain free software.  I respect
> Richard highly and of course believe him.  By 2009, when I last checked
> SugarCRM's terms, they were excessive enough that IMO, if FSF still
> think that's not out of bounds for free software, they've lost their
> collective minds. 

I did not make any real attempt to follow SugarCRM's use of section 7
closely after 2007, but the one or two times I did look into it I indeed
felt that it went beyond the limits set by the FSF in its original
discussions with SugarCRM.

I don't think there's anything *fundamentally* flawed in the actual text
of (A)GPLv3 as regards this issue. The basic problem is the view that a
"Powered by [insert name of ~2007 OSBC-sponsor startup]" logo can be
considered a form of author attribution (or a reasonable one, anyway).
I've personally been convinced by the views of Pam Chestek on this
topic, that badgeware in the general case is inconsistent with the Free
Software Definition and Open Source Definition. There's enough evidence
of an ongoing history of misuse of section 7 by certain commercial
actors that I would recommend to the FSF to clarify the matter in FAQs
and certainly in any future revision to the GPL and AGPL.


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