Bacula license (was Re: Help Selecting License for Bacula Documentation
I have just discovered that Bacula has a problematic clause in its license.
Termination for IP or Patent Action:
In addition to the termination clause specified in the GPL, this
license shall terminate automatically and you may no longer
exercise any of the rights granted to you by this license as of
the date you commence an action, including a cross-claim or
counterclaim, against any licensor of GPL software alleging that
the software infringes an intellectual property right or a
patent. Special dispensation from or delay to the execution of
this clause may be possible by applying directly to the license
owner of this software. Such a dispensation or delay is valid
only in writing and signed by the one or more of the license
This is an additional restriction beyond those in the GPL. Therefore this
renders the license GPL-incompatible. Which is a major problem since other
parts of Bacula are licensed under pure GPL. :-P
Furthermore, it may not be DFSG-free. I don't think debian-legal has
decided on this. The key point here is that this clause retaliates
against someone who sues *any* licensor of *any* GPL software, not just
the licensors of Bacula. The really disturbing part is that this isn't
restricted to patents, put refers to "an intellectual property right".
This means that my license to use Bacula is revoked if I sue claiming
that some GPL'ed work has included portions of my copyrighted code
without permission, or claiming that some GPL'ed work has used my *trademark*
unfairly and without permission.
I suspect that this will not be considered a reasonable clause by most
people on debian-legal. It effectively says "As long as you use Bacula,
you grant everyone in the world the right to use any or your copyrighted
work in any GPLed program, and you grant eveyone in the world the right
to use your trademark as a name or advertisement for any GPLed program."
This can't be what was intended.
I suggest to Kern that he just drop this clause. It doesn't operate as
intended and it causes problems. Hopefully a satisfactory
patent-retaliation clause will be avaialbe in a future version of the
Nathanael Nerode <email@example.com>
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