[License-review] Approval: Server Side Public License, Version 1 (SSPL v1)

Smith, McCoy mccoy.smith at intel.com
Wed Nov 7 20:52:46 UTC 2018

>>From: License-review [mailto:license-review-bounces at lists.opensource.org] On Behalf Of Carlo Piana
>>Sent: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 11:38 PM
>>To: License submissions for OSI review <license-review at lists.opensource.org>
>>Subject: Re: [License-review] Approval: Server Side Public License, Version 1 (SSPL v1)

>>Discrimination occurs when you treat identical situations in different ways because the subject belongs to a different group of people.

>>Copyleft does not discriminate. If A holds copyright in X and B doesn't, A has rights and B has a grant, so their position is different. But that doesn't change if you reverse their positions.

I read OSD 5 & 6 as codifying essentially the same concept: *the text of the license* must not preclude particular users, or uses, from making use of the software.  So a license that said “you may not use this software to make money” violates OSD 6, whereas a license that by its structure would make making money off the software difficult or impossible does not violate OSD 6.  Because the text of the license would not preclude making money, it would allow for users to figure out creative ways of making money within the requirements of the license – much like many companies have made revenue businesses off GPLv2 despite GPLv2 saying, explicitly, “You must cause any work … to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties.”
Based on this reading, the *GPL family of licenses don’t violate OSD 5 & 6, nor does LZPL or SSPL.  None of those licenses preclude any person or entity from making use of the software, or from any person or entity making use of the software for any particular activity.
I continue to believe LZPL & SSPL *do* violate OSD 9, because they impose restrictions on other software – i.e., they dictate the license and rights to that software, requiring LZPL or SSPL – *even when* that software in no way exercises the rights granted by those licenses (for example, but exercising any of the enumerated copyright rights).  Unlike Bruce Perens, I do not read “distribution” as a necessary limitation on the requirements of OSD 9, just as an example of the situations where OSD 9 might be invoked.  Obviously, that particular point is one about which a lot of the debate is ongoing, and I think it would be quite useful to get a board ruling on that, as it would influence an important OSD compliance point with both of those licenses.
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