Re: is this free?
Henning Makholm writes:
> email@example.com (Bruce Perens) writes:
> > Regarding the "monitor the web site" thing, I can't think of another good
> > way for them to notify you if there's a claim,
> They don't have to.
> They could simply say: To the best of our present knowledge we have
> the only copyright to this software. We can't absolutely guarantee
> that, however, and kindly ask you to remember that this license ouly
> give you OUR permission to copy the software. If a third party can
> demonstrate a copyright claim on the software, you'll need HIS
> permission to copy in addition to ours.
> Then they wouldn't need to revoke anything, and that is IMO the only
> free approach to that kind of eventualities.
I felt that the IBM Public License did an excellent job of expressing
this basic position. It says:
Recipient understands that although each Contributor grants the
licenses to its Contributions set forth herein, no assurances are
provided by any Contributor that the Program does not infringe the
patent or other intellectual property rights of any other entity.
Each Contributor disclaims any liability to Recipient for claims
brought by any other entity based on infringement of intellectual
property rights or otherwise. As a condition to exercising the
rights and licenses granted hereunder, each Recipient hereby assumes
sole responsibility to secure any other intellectual property rights
needed, if any. [...]
Lovelier writing on free software from a major multinational corporation
I have never yet heard.
This is pretty close to what someone on slashdot proposed as a "quitclaim
license" a while back. (This is an analogy to "quitclaim deeds" in real
estate, where you say something like "I give up to you whatever rights _I_
have in this land -- but I can't absolutely promise that someone _else_
might not also have some rights, which you would need to discuss with that
The IBM Public License doesn't even contain a third-party termination
clause; instead, _commercial_ distributors have to agree to indemnify
everyone else against the possible infringing consequences of their
commercial distribution. This seems to me to be the best of all possible
Again, corporate lawyers would have to decide whether they believe that
this strategy provides adequate protection -- but I think it's an awfully
good model of the way things might be done.
Seth David Schoen <firstname.lastname@example.org> | And do not say, I will study when I
Temp. http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/ | have leisure; for perhaps you will
down: http://www.loyalty.org/ (CAF) | not have leisure. -- Pirke Avot 2:5