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Re: for any putpose and without fee?

Peter S Galbraith <GalbraithP@dfo-mpo.gc.ca> writes:

> It's not written 
>  `is hereby granted for any purpose and without fee' 
> but rather 
>  `permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute [...] for any
>   purpose and without fee'.

> Doesn't that means not allowed to sell (i.e. non DFSG-compliant)?

That wording has been discussed here on -legal at several occasions

My impression is that there is a rough consensus that we can keep such
packages in main for the time being, interpreting "without fee" as
"without paying a fee to the author" (which is a logically consistent
interpretation of the wording). Unless we have specific knowledge that
that is not what the author meant, that is.

There is also an unanimous agreement that the wording is ambiguous;
that it should not be recommended; and that it would be a Good Thing
if the maintainers of the respective packages would gently solicit
licence clarifications from the authors.

> $ grep -l "for any purpose and without fee" /usr/doc/*/copyright | \
>    sed -e "s|/usr/doc/||;s|/copyright||;" 

Clarifications in the form of an email from the author that says
that charging for the act of making copies is OK, are OK and can
simply be quoted in the copyright file; so not all of the packages
your grep found necessarily have the potential problem.

Some, including packages in main, do have the unamended ambiguous
wording. Someone who felt he had the time might go hunting for the
wording in the entire archive and file wishlist bugs against the
relevant packages.

> If I'm wrong about the interpretation, I might suggest this
> license.

Better advise changing
  ...for any purpose and without fee is granted
  ...for any purpose is granted without fee
which removes the ambiguity.

> However, am I right that it doesn't exclude making a
> sold-for-profit binary-only derived product?

Yes. If the author wants to rule out that possibility GPL will
be the canonical way to go. It will be a good choice unless one
feels bad about associating with the political language in the
GPL preamble.

Henning Makholm

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