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Re: Proposed QPL mods - 3rd try



[liberal use of paragraph reformatting ahead...]

On Mon, Nov 30, 1998 at 08:47:47PM -0600, Andreas Pour wrote:
> >    1. License cannot control distribution of independant patches.  In
> >       order to have any binding control over the license of a patch, it
> >       has to be applied to the source.  If someone didn't want Troll
> >       Tech to use their patch, they will be able to make sure they
> >       can't, regardless of what any of us do.
> 
> I don't understand this.  It is of course true that Qt cannot control the
> license which anyone uses on their own work.  But why can't they say, you
> may not create a derivative work of Qt (or distribute it, of course)
> unless all of the source code is licensed as follows . . . , which is
> essentially what the GPL does.

The GPL talks about it as a modified version of the program.  I'm talking
about a patch file.  At that point, they are two seperate works.  (Some
people disagree with this, but they were the people saying KDE source code
can't be distributed because it was written so that it worked with Qt.. 
They were wrong then and now)  They are seperate works until they are
combined.

The lines blur a bit with unidiff and the like which include parts of the
original to make the patch, I really didn't even want to mess with that so I
opted not to at all since there didn't seem to be a need.


> Thus, you can't control the license of the patch, but you can make the
> patch utterly useless (i.e., nobody will be able to apply it to the Qt
> source) unless it complies with the license you want it to have.  And this
> "required license" can have a provision giving the original copyright
> holder a royalty-free license to use and distribute the patch.  What am I
> missing?

Exactly, you can't control license on the patch, but you can make it so
nobody can apply it and distribute the results.  The original QPL didn't
allow that anyway.


> [ ... ]
> 
> >    3. Code released under the QPL as a mod to Qt will be considered fair
> >       game for Troll Tech to be able to sell under their professional
> >       license.  The user gets a promise that a free version will still be
> >       available in exchange for this.  Troll Tech can incorporate your patch
> >       as long as the result is still available.  It's more or less what
> >       Netscape wanted with Mozilla so it's not new.
> >
> 
> This is a bit vague tro me -- "will be considered fair game"?

Troll Tech is allowed to license the code however they wish if the mod is
QPL licensed.  I explain that down just a bit..  (the license was clearer
than my explanation I think)


> This needs to be clear -- if Troll Tech is wrong, all distributions of Qt
> will violate copyright law and this will really hurt Qt (and Troll Tech). 
> Obviously Qt will need to have experienced copyright lawyers in the major
> countries look at this license (hint, hint).  There certainly should not
> be any cloud over whether or not anything can be incorporated.  This
> relates to the point above, about whether or not one can control the
> licensing of the patch.  Perhaps I am not reading this right; my only
> point is that Qt *will* have to control the licensing of patches so it can
> be sure it has a clean, enforceable license to distribute the patch under
> its two licensing schemes.

What I was trying to do was say pretty much that if you release your mod for
Qt as QPL, you're giving Troll Tech permission to use it however they want. 
They will keep the free version around if they do (which they plan to do
anyway)


> One other point worth mentioning, over and over again, is that Qt needs
> experienced legal counsel to draft its license.  No offense intended, but your
> comment that "You can't prevent use with a llicense, only distribution" (in
> your draft qpl-mod-v3) is sheer nonsense, of course you can limit use with a
> license (have you never seen the one-user vs. multiple-user/networked
> licenses?), you can limit whatever you want, within certain bounds (think about
> a license to see a soccer match -- can the stadium owners not control your
> behavior while in the stadium?).  Also, IMHO Qt cannot afford to have a license
> as poorly drafted as the GPL, and I really hope that precedent of
> debate/controversy-generating text is not repeated.

You can't.  Note the GPL and other free licenses don't describe use, only
distribution.  That's what Copyright is.  Applying patches and the like for
your own personal use is considered "fair use" provided you obtained the
original legally.  Besides, you don't want to control and restrict users,
you want to make sure that developers don't distribute non-free software
without a professional edition license.  That's fine since non-free software
is a derived work of both the person's software and qt (once compiled at
least)  Of course the QPL does allow commercial free software.

Many people have said that shrinkwrap licenses on the vast majority of
non-free software are illegal, point is that usually these companies are US
based and in the US whether or not you win in court is directly proportional
to how well you pay your lawyers and how many you have.  You vs. Microsoft,
who is going to win?


> While the free software community can give Qt advice on the substantive points
> to include in the license, I think it is a huge mistake to have computer
> programmers draft legal agreements/licenses.  Huge mistake.  Huge.

I'm not completely ignorant of Copyright law...  I was actually considering
seriously at one point going into law and specializing in computer-related
law.  People talked me out of it, no money in it they said.  Do you know how
much computer law specialists MAKE these days??  FWIW, one of the people who
is looking over the license is a 3rd year law student.  Hopefully he'll have
some constructive thoughts on it.  Said he'd probably take a few days doing
a little bit of research on the matter so he can make an informed opinion.

I don't know about you, but I'm anxious to hear what he says.  He may not be
a lawyer yet, but he's the closest thing I can find and he's willing to
provide his opinion without being handed a large sum of money.  Perhaps he
may not be a lawyer, but he's doing his homework with it (quite literally I
suppose) and if he comes back with a serious correction, there will be a v4
I promise.  This proposal may be nearly complete or very incomplete.  I
haven't proposed it yet because I'm not done with it yet.  It's here for
people's opinions.  I've noted yours and am considering it.

-- 
Show me the code or get out of my way.

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