[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: BSD Protection License

At 13:01 23/10/2003 +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
On 2003-10-23 11:10:13 +0100 Colin Percival <colin.percival@wadham.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
1. You may do X
2. You may do Y
3. You may do Z
means "you may take any, all, or none, of the actions X,Y,Z"; likewise, clauses 2, 3, and 4 each provide alternatives -- you may take actions permitted under any of those clauses.

As already mentioned, your licence says:
2. You may do N
3. You may do X if Y
4. You may do X if Z
which I hope you agree could mean "you may do N; or you may do X if Y and Z."

I'm afraid I don't agree. It means exactly what the previous example means: "you may take any, all, or none, of the actions (N), (X, provided that you also do Y), and (X, provided that you also do Z)".

  To take this to extremes, consider the following hypothetical license:
1. You may make copies of this email message and distribute them without modification if your last name starts with the leter "A". 2. You may make copies of this email message and distribute them without modification if your last name does not start with the letter "A". I *hope* that nobody is going to read that as requiring that any redistributor have a name which both starts, and does not start, with the letter "A".

  It seems reasonable to ask for clarification.

Asking for clarification is one thing; refusing to accept it is quite another.

DFSG 3 is simply a question of understanding what the license says (ok, to be pedantic, what it *trys* to say). Next chance I get, I'll ask one of the fellows here in .ox.ac.uk how such a disjunction would be interpreted by the courts; if he thinks it's unclear, I'll reword the license to change that.

What would you lose by clarifying it anyway? I do not understand why you wish to set this hurdle. I think we are almost certainly not going to be the only people to be confused by this. You would save much time in future explanation by changing it now.

I've already distributed a bunch of software under this license, with the current wording. Had I realized that this would be an issue, I'd have changed the wording at the beginning; but I'd prefer to avoid causing confusion by having two, logically identical but syntactically different, versions of the license floating about.

To be fair, I didn't expect many people to like this license -- which is one reason I only came here to discuss it after someone else (Adam Majer) decided he wanted to bring my code into debian.

...and to advocate it?

  No, to clarify it, and be boggled by the confusion it seems to cause.

[...] No trademarks covering licensing, contracts, or any sort of legal services.

Trademarking was not the only concern. Do you have a comment about the morality of misrepresentation as a work from BSD? So far, you have only said that you do not think you will be sued over it, IIRC.

How am I (mis)representing anything as being a work "from BSD"? What is "BSD", anyway, as a legal entity? (AFAIK, BSD inc. no longer exists.)

Colin Percival

Reply to: