[License-review] [license review] Mulan PSL V1

Pamela Chestek pamela at chesteklegal.com
Fri Dec 6 14:05:18 UTC 2019

On 12/6/2019 1:03 AM, Carlo wrote:
> On 06/12/19 01:23, Josh Berkus wrote:
>> On 12/4/19 1:31 AM, zhou minghui wrote:
>>> As for your criticism, I totally understand your angle. However, you may
>>> understand we did that for a reason. We intended to make it easier for
>>> Chinese developers to read and understand, not inducing legal issues
>>> they don't want.  After all, we have about ten million developers in
>>> China, who are desperate to develop their software in open source
>>> fashion.  And they represent thousands of companies that may boost the
>>> Internet technologies.  They are not against English at all (we are in
>>> the same earth village, and we are applying for OSI approval here), but
>>> a Chinese version make them understand what they are licensed and
>>> license to. 
>> I think Carlo was arguing that this license should state that the
>> Chinese version is authoritative.  Certainly that would make sense to me.
> Thanks Josh for spotting the point. Pretty much so. **One** version
> should be authoritative, IMHO. Which one, that's up to the author of the
> license to decide.
> Suppose one contributor picks the English and another, for an unrelated
> project, the Chinese, and the two differ substantially due to a glitch
> in the translation. And a third party combines them. It's a minor hiccup
> here, as it's no copyleft, yet it's unnecessary added entropy. Which one
> applies? You would have two inbound and most of all two outbound
> licenses in a superstate, with the same name and different legal
> consequences.
> Again, not a big issue, rather a matter of elegance and "ecology".
Would it be possible to make one version authoritative is some countries
and the other authoritative in the rest of the world? You could says
something like "the Chinese version is the official version in China,
Hong Kong, etc. and the English version is the official version in the
other countries of the world." If you said that the Chinese version was
authoritative everywhere, and then litigate the license in the US, the
Chinese version will need to be translated to English. You might then
end up with a /different/ translation than the version written in English.

But you would want it very clear how it was divided. I would not say
something like "Chinese-speaking countries" because then you get into
arguments about what that means - is the United States a
Chinese-speaking country because it has a sizable Chinese-speaking
population? (We have no official language in the United States.)

Just suggesting it - does this create problems I'm not seeing?


Pamela S. Chestek
Chestek Legal
PO Box 2492
Raleigh, NC 27602
pamela at chesteklegal.com

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