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Re: [vorlon@netexpress.net: Re: Bug#181969: [mdadams@ece.uvic.ca: Re: JasPer licensing wrt Debian Linux]]

Dear Ben and Others:

On Tue, 16 Dec 2003, Ben Reser wrote:
> Perhaps, there is a compromise that we can make between your license and
> our standards.
> For instance Clause 7 of the GPL specifically covers patents and
> generally covers any case where the distribution of the software may be
> illegal or prohibited by some other agreement the distributor is bound
> to.

I am not sure if you are suggesting that JasPer use the GPL.  For what
it's worth, the GPL license was considered as a potential license for
JasPer.  The problem with the GPL is that many commercial organizations
will not use GPL'd software.  For this reason, the GPL was not chosen
for JasPer.

> As I understand it (though I've been utterly unable to verify this for
> sure) the various patent holders have agreed to grant a royalty-free
> license to anyone implementing the JPEG2000 standard.  I've seen various
> mentions to this effect on the web and your license certainly seems to
> imply this.

Speaking as someone who has attended a number of the JPEG Working Group
meetings including the most recent one held last month, I can say that
it has always been the intention of the Working Group that the JPEG-2000
Part-1 standard be royalty and license-fee free.  Unfortunately, some
ambiguity still exists as to the patent status of JPEG-2000 Part 1.
So, whether the Working Group's objective (of a free-to-use standard)
will be achieved remains to be seen.  Also, due to this uncertainty,
one needs to be particularly sensitive to patent issues.

> You could also most definitely place a clarification in the license file
> as well explaining that your view is that modifications of the software
> that changed the software to be non-compliant with the JPEG2000 standard
> would violate the patent clause.  This wouldn't be very different from
> what you have now.  But it would push the restrictions out of your
> license and onto the law of the jurisdiction of the distributor.
> Something that we can't hold you or your license responsible for.

I could certainly ask the other JasPer Contributors whether they would
be willing to approve such a change.  I should note, however, that this
precise issue has been discussed before, and at that time, the other
Contributors were not willing to drop the above compliance restriction.
Therefore, I am not very optimistic that such a change would meet with
their approval at the present time.

Placing the above patent issues aside for the moment, I am still having
some difficulties understanding why the compliance clause prevents you
from using JasPer.  Can anyone give me an actual example of a project that
would like to use the JasPer JPEG-2000 codec in a non-interoperable
way?  If not, then why is the compliance restriction an issue IN PRACTICE?
Is there a problem with the wording of the clause that makes it more
burdensome than intended?  If so, there is a better chance that I would
be able to convince the other JasPer Contributors to correct such
an ambiguity (than removing the clause altogether).

Although I may not have explictly mentioned this before, please keep in
mind that the JasPer JPEG-2000 codec was developed in order to promote
the use of the JPEG-2000 standard.  It is clearly in the interest of
the success of the standard to discourage the creation of
non-interoperable (i.e., non-compliant) implementations.  This purpose
is also served by the compliance clause in the JasPer license.
Anyways, I just thought that this was worth mentioning.  I think that
the patent issue is probably the more serious one.


Michael Adams, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Elec. and Comp. Engineering, University of Victoria
P.O. Box 3055 STN CSC, Victoria, BC, V8W 3P6, CANADA
E-mail: mdadams@ece.uvic.ca, Web: www.ece.uvic.ca/~mdadams

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