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Re: libcgicg1

kat@nekhem.com (Katjia Mirri) wrote:
>sorry to bother you all with my annoying question, but I hope someone 
>of you may help me with a quite simple thing.
>I'm writing about the libcgicg1 and libcgicg1-dev libaries.
>On the author's site (and in the copyright notes too) there is a restrictive 
>license: I can use it wherever I want IF I include a credits note. 
>And if I'd like not to include the note I have to buy the license. 
>If I look in Debian distribution, however, I find the package under the 
>free set of packages (main).
>So here's my question: 
>Is still valid the author's request? Or is in conflict with debian 
>free-software guidelines?

Somebody mailed me about this recently (I'm the libcgic maintainer), so
I'll repeat what I said then. Here's the libcgic licence:

  cgic, copyright 1996 by Thomas Boutell. Permission is granted to use cgic 
  in any application, commercial or noncommercial, at no cost. HOWEVER,
  this copyright paragraph must appear on a "credits" page accessible in 
  the public online and offline documentation of the program. Modified 
  versions of the cgic library should not be distributed without the 
  attachment of a clear statement regarding the author of the 
  modifications, and this notice may in no case be removed. 
  Modifications may also be submitted to the author for inclusion 
  in the main cgic distribution.

It's quite common to require that the author's name must appear
somewhere in the documentation. For instance, the BSD licence (without
the advertising clause) says:

  Copyright (c) The Regents of the University of California.
  All rights reserved.

  Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
  modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
  are met:
  1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright 
     notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
  2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
     notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
     documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
  3. Neither the name of the University nor the names of its contributors
     may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software
     without specific prior written permission.

Virtually all of this licence is spent ensuring that the copyright
holder gets credit, which is fair enough. The libcgic one is slightly
more specific, but I don't think it's stretching the point to call an
ordinary copyright file a '"credits" page'. Since it also allows
redistribution of modified and non-modified versions, it's DFSG-free.

I also believe that this licence is GPL-compatible (the only real
restriction in it is just clause 2(a) of the GPL), but that takes more
legal care to check.


Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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