Re: License Conflict in slmodem-2.9.5
Ben Reser <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> There is a license conflict that technically prohibits the distribution
> of your software. Most of your code contains a non-copyleft but
> permissive license. However, modem_at.c carries a GPL license.
> This in itself is not a huge problem. Your license is substantially
> similar to other licenses that the FSF says are GPL compatible (e.g. the
> ZPL or the Cryptix General License).
> The inclusion of the GPL licensed file triggers the requirements of
> section 2b of the GPL, which requires that the entire work be GPL'd.
This is not *quite* true. It requires that the combined work be
distributed under the terms of the GPL, which introduces another
option for them.
> As I said before your license is compatible with the GPL so this on a
> cursory review wouldn't be a problem.
> However, you do not include source for the dsplibs.o or the amrlibs.o
> file. This conflicts with section 3 of the GPL that requires the source
> code be made available.
This part is accurate.
> Solutions to the problem are as follows:
> 1) License all files under the GPL and include source for the two object
Simply providing the source for the two object files would be
sufficient to comply with the GPL. That's what GPL-compatible means.
This is the other option I mentioned: they need change no licenses,
merely include the source code.
> 2) Change the license on modem_at.c. How you do this depends upon to
> what degree you own the copyright to this code.
> a) You have complete copyright to the code and remove the GPL license
> replacing it with your existing license. Alternatively, you could
> dual license (i.e. say you can use either your license or the GPL).
> Both of these are essentially the same as your license is GPL
> compatible anyway.
No. One of these is a copyleft, the other is not.
> b) You do not have complete copyright and adapted the code from a GPL
> source. In which case you are violating that persons copyright as
> you are not including any copyright indicating that. I suspect
> due to the lack of the copyright notice for something like that
> that this isn't the case. However, if it is you would need to
> get the permission to relicense the code under your license or
> rewrite the code from scratch.
> I believe this conflict is relatively easy to resolve. I anticipate you
> can do 2a and continue on.
> I'm also CC'ing debian-legal on this as they distribute your code in the
> sl-modem-daemon package. The package is currently in non-free. Doing 1
> would result in it being able to move to free (unless someone else sees
> another problem). However, until 2 is done I'd suspect Debian is going
> to have to remove the package.
I'm not a Debian Developer (yet), but thanks for the heads-up.
> Additionally, there are other files (kernel-ver.c, all the files in
> patches and scripts) which do not contain any license at all. Appropriate
> copyright notices should be added to them. The debian startup script
> appears to have been contributed by a 3rd party so you'd need to contact
> that individual to get the appropriate copyright notice. And the ALSA
> patches would need to be GPL licensed in order to be applied and used.
> It may be useful to include a COPYING file that applies your license to
> any file that doesn't say otherwise within its contents.
> If you have any questions about this please let me know. I'll be more
> than happy to spend some time with you explaining the problems and
> working with you to reach a resolution to this licensing problem.
> Ben Reser <email@example.com>
> "Conscience is the inner voice which warns us somebody may be looking."
> - H.L. Mencken
Brian Sniffen firstname.lastname@example.org