YAST License, is redistribution permitted?
please keep email@example.com in the Cc:
I'm seeking the opinion of -legal regarding an issue I've been
discussing on another mailing list. It pertains the YAST license as
To make this clear from the start: I do not intent to package a program
under this license. I'm interested in this issue merely as a) Debian
Developer trying to gain some insight into a particular aspect of
copyright/contractual law; b) Application Manager who presents
copyright-related questions to new maintainers. If someone considers
this discussion off-topic for this list, I apologize beforehand, *I*
don't think that's the case.
From the English translation of license (original is in German):
It is forbidden to reproduce or distribute data carriers which
have been reproduced without authorisation for payment without
the prior written consent of SuSE Linux AG or SuSE Linux.
Distribution of the YaST 2 programme, its sources, whether
amended or unamended in full or in part thereof, and the works
derived thereof for a charge require the prior written consent of
SuSE Linux AG.
All programmes derived from YaST 2, and all works derived thereof
as a whole or parts thereof may only be disseminated with the
amended sources and this licence in accordance with 2b). Making
YaST 2 or works derived thereof available free of charge together
with SuSE Linux on FTP Servers and mailboxes is permitted if the
licences on the software are observed.
The point of contention is whether or not redistribution of SuSE Linux
CDs is permitted by this license. My reading of the above is as
follows: this bit stablishes two modes of redistribution, for charge
and free of charge. If you want to redistribute the program for
charge, you have to get permission from SuSE Linux. If you want to
redistribute the software free of charge, you have two options: FTP
servers or "mailboxes". Any other option is forbidden. Ergo, you
can't redistribute copies of the SuSE Linux demo CDs (the ones with
mostly free stuff -- modulo things like Acrobat Reader and its kind).
Does this interpretation sound right to you?
[ the "mailboxes" thing is something that isn't clear to me either.
The original in German says "Mailboxen" IIRC, which according to the
dictionary sitting near my desk is not a German word. They _might_
mean AOL-style distribution. ]
During the discussion, another argument _for_ the redistribution of CDs
has surfaced. The other partner in this argument holds that in
contractual law there's a principle called "Contrario Senso" (rough
translation from Latin: opposed sense, contrary sense) which states
that if an action is explicitly forbidden by a contract, the opposite
action is implicitly permitted. Even if this was to hold true for
software licenses, I still think it's irrelevant for this case, but my
question is precisely that: does such a principle hold true for
software licenses? How do you stablish what the "opposite action" is?
Do you know of _any_ cases (relevant to software licensing) where such
a principle has been applied?
Thanks for your time,