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Re: PennMUSH license concerns.

On Mon, Sep 22, 2003 at 02:54:26PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 21, 2003 at 11:41:52PM -0600, Joel Baker wrote:
> [snip]
> > See above; the concern is not over any specific piece of code (in that the
> > only ones I can point to, I'm fairly sure the license can be clarified
> > for), but in whether debian-legal is willing to accept the statements of
> > (in particular) Lydia Leong and David Passmore on the matter, since they
> > can be demonstrated as false in at least one circumstance, today.
> > 
> > In fairness, in terms of *probability*, any random bit of code taken from
> > 2.2.5 is *likely* to be under an acceptable license, stipulating that the
> > 2.0 relicense is acceptable (which I'm not contradicting); the 3.x code,
> > even moreso (since much of the reason 2.2.5 was released had to do with
> > updates Unoff 1 made after a long period of issues with the maintenence of
> > the official 2.2 series, but the 3.x series rewrote a significant amount of
> > code). Unless PennMUSH happened to get a poison pill, it wouldn't actually
> > have any problems (unlike TinyMUSH 3.x, which, last I looked, still did).
> > 
> > To be honest, I have my doubts as to whether it would even be possible to
> > track down every possible incidence, and I suspect that the only practical
> > solution, given the code history, would be to take a "solve problems as
> > they appear" approach - if someone asserts an issue, either get them to
> > relicense the code, or have upstream replace the code.
> > 
> > If debian-legal is comfortable with that approach, I'm certainly happy to
> > bribe, cajole, and nerf-bat Mr. Grizzard until he agrees to a relicense
> > under suitable terms, and thus resolve the only outstanding issue I have
> > concrete evidence of (this d-l decision would presumably also apply to the
> > ITP for TinyMUSH 3, as well).
> In my opinion, we have made a reasonable and good-faith effort to verify
> the licensing.  If the issue has been researched, and no one can point
> to any explicit license problems, then that should be sufficient.
> It is not common practice in the free software community to have
> contributors swear out an affidavit regarding the copyright ancestry of
> their contributions.
> If some copyright holder somwhere feels his privileges are being
> infringed, then the onus is on them to bring the issue to our attention.
> We have been anything but careless.  I do not think it is reasonable to
> expect the Debian Project or the other PennMUSH copyright holders to go
> to lengths usually reserved for tracking down wanted criminals to locate
> other copyright holders whose intentions can be reasonably conjectured.

Sorry it took a while to reply; I was waiting to see if anyone else had
input, then got distracted by a new job, and all that goes with it. I don't
have any issue with this opinion; I merely wanted to ensure that the issue
had, in fact, been considered and that we were knowingly taking this path,
rather than carelessly defaulting to it.

Note that this also applies to the TinyMUSH 3.0 ITP, which had the same
situation, and is thus resolved in the same manner.
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>                                        ,''`.
Debian GNU NetBSD/i386 porter                                        : :' :
                                                                     `. `'

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