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Re: PennMUSH license concerns.

Ervin Hearn III <noltar@korongil.net> writes:

> Concern has been expressed on the debian-devel list about license
> status of PennMUSH and its legitimacy. PennMUSH was relicensed under
> the Artistic License as of version 1.7.6p0 in November 2002. Aspects
> of PennMUSH's code have been drawn from, of course, it's TinyMUD roots
> as well as its 'sibling' codebase, TinyMUSH (2.0, 2.2, 3.0).
> I spoke with the PennMUSH source maintainer and one of the
> developers/upstream authors, Alan Schwartz (aka Javelin), about any
> information regarding how the relicensing was handled and the concerns
> expressed about it. This is what he said in response:
> TinyMUSH 2.0, whose authors relicensed all their code in 1995 to a BSD
> license, so that's clean. We also contacted the TM 2.0 authors (Joseph
> Traub and Glenn Crocker) and got their agreement anyway. The next bit
> is TinyMUSH 2.2, which their devteam (Jean Marie Diaz, Lydia Leong,
> Devin Hooker) all agreed to relicense under Artistic (from 2.2.5, I
> believe), and I have their email saying so. Then there's the PennMUSH
> copyright holder (me, Talek, Raevnos), and we all agreed. So Penn's
> clean. TM 3.0's dev team also switched to Artistic (as did tinymux, I
> believe) at the same time. I don't know anything about 2.2.4unoff,
> which we've never incorporated code from to my knowledge.
> He has also stated that he did track down all authors which followed
> TinyMUD, which was cleanly licensed under the BSD license, to get
> their approval, and has emails from them granting permission.
> I would appreciate any comments regarding whether concerns about
> PennMUSH's legitimacy under the Artistic License are valid, and legal
> obstacles for its inclusion as a Debian package.

Nice work.  It sounds like there are only two minor issues:

* First, you *do* mean the Clarified Artistic License, right?  The
  original is a bit of a mess in some parts.

* Second, the copyright file should preferably include that whole history,
  including statements from all the copyright holders relicensing
  their work.  Especially note the difference between "You may distribute
  my work under the CAL" and "I licence my work to you under the CAL."

  If the e-mail exchange must be kept confidential, a statement from 
  Mr. Schwartz to this effect and listing the various copyright
  holders who have given permission will do.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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