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Re: Response to the j2se licencing concerns

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On Sunday 14 Oct 2001 6:38 am, Stephen Zander wrote:
> Please continue to CC Juergen and I, we're not on -legal
> >>>>> "Stephen" == Stephen Stafford <stephen@clothcat.demon.co.uk>
> >>>>> writes:
>     Stephen> Read it again.  This is clause 3 of the supplemental
>     Stephen> terms.  Clause 3 pertains to distribution of binaries:
> This is Sun's supplemental terms for the j2sdk and applies to the
> end-users wishing to redistrinute a Java2 run-time environment (read
> the mentioned README file if you don't believe me).  It is, therefore
> an EULA.  The Blackdown supplemental terms appear at the bottom on
> the licence and explicitly grant redistribution by mirrors and Linux
> distributions, so long as the files in the original tarballs remain
> unaltered.

Where does it say that the suplemental terms apply only to end users?  
I have read the mentioned README file, and the only part of it which is 
allowed to be redistributed by end users (as I understand it) is the 
runtime environment (it is not made fully clear what constitutes the 
runtime environment).  I am still not sure that just because we are 
distributing source *along* with binaries that it does not apply to us.

> [...]
>     Stephen> It says nothing about whether or not you can sue Debian.
>     Stephen> It explicitly says that it is Sun which you must
>     Stephen> indemnify against damages.
>     Stephen> As I indicated before.  If you wish to assert that I am
>     Stephen> wrong and why I am wrong then I will withdraw my
>     Stephen> objection.
> Proof by counter example.  This is from the xfree86 licences:

>  2.4  GLX Public License
>  GLX PUBLIC LICENSE (Version 1.0 (2/11/99)) ("License")
>    3. Redistribution in Executable Form. The notice set forth in
>    Exhibit A must be conspicuously included in any notice in an
>    executable version of Subject Software, related documentation or
>    collateral in which Recipient describes the user's rights relating
>    to the Subject Software. Recipient may distribute the executable
>    version of Subject Software under a license of Recipient's choice,
>    which may contain terms different from this License, provided that
>    (i) Recipient is in compliance with the terms of this License, and
>    (ii) the license terms include this Section 3 and Sections 4, 7,
>    8, 10, 12 and 13 of this License, which terms may not be modified
>    or superseded by any other terms of such license. If Recipient
>    distributes the executable version under a different license
>    Recipient must make it absolutely clear that any terms which
>    differ from this License are offered by Recipient alone, not by
>    SGI.  Recipient hereby agrees to indemnify SGI for any liability
>    incurred by SGI as a result of any such terms Recipient offers.

>Specifically, the last sentence requires Debian to indemnify SGI
>against changes to their code if they in any way alter the licence
>terms.  Before Branden jumps down my throat, I'm not suggesting that
>he or anyone has done so, but historic behaviour is no guide to
>future performance.

No, this is not the same thing at all.  In the case of the Sun license 
we are indemnifying damages arising from the license they give us.  In 
the xfree license we are indemnifying against any changes we make to 
the license (as long as we don't change the license then we are not 
liable in any way).  This is totally different.  We do not have to 
indemnify SGI against changes made to their *code*.  We have to 
indemnify against changes made to their *license* if we distribute code 
changes under a different license.  I don't know if Branden distributes 
any changes he makes under this license or a different one.  Perhaps 
Branden could clarify this for us.
Comapre this with the sun license, where we do not even have to change 
the code to be liable, but only have to distribute it.

> A second example, this from blender (currently in non-free):
>   7. User warning and indemnification
>   WARNING: use of the Software and use of any works that are
> (partially) created with the Software (the "Works") may cause
> physical or psychological reactions from You or from third parties,
> which may result in damages, injuries, losses and/or other negative
> consequences. You acknowledge that NaN can not be held liable for any
> such damages, injuries, losses and/or other negative consequences.
> You acknowledge that it is your obligation to investigate, prevent
> and/or minimize such reactions prior to having third parties use the
> Works.
>   You shall indemnify and hold harmless NaN from and against all
> actions, claims, demands, proceedings, losses, damages, costs,
> charges and expenses, including but not limited to legal fees and
> expenses, arising out of or in connection with (i) the use of the
> Software by You and (ii) the use of any Works created with the
> Software by You or any third parties.
> My point is that clause is standard legalese and is already carried
> by other packages within Debian.

Yes, I know.  I still don't like it.  It is not quite the same thing 
either though.  It covers your own usage of the software, or anything 
that you develop with it.  (In other words, don't blame the development 
tools for the developer's fuckup).

In the case of the xfree license I don't think it would stop us from 
distributing (or even make it non-free.  If anything it is more free 
than some licenses which require that you distribute any changes you 
make under the same license.)

The Blender license I do not like at all.  I am not convinced we should 
be distributing it (for similar reasons as the j2se license).
It may very well be standard legalese, but just because it is standard 
it is not meaningless.  Or that it is not dangerous.

I remain unconvinced.  Perhaps somebody should ask a lawyer who 
specialises in licensing here?

I am sorry, but licenses which start to talk about indemnifying 
immediately start warning bells in my head.  If companies are going to 
release under a free license (and get the fanfare of good publicity 
that goes with that) then the license they release under should damn 
well BE free.

<standard IANAL blah blah>
- -- 
Stephen Stafford
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