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

Re: [Linux-support] License Conflict in slmodem-2.9.5

Hello Ben!

Thanks for so promptly reporting.

> There is a license conflict that technically prohibits the
> distribution of your software.  Most of your code contains a
> non-copyleft but permissive license.  However, modem_at.c carries a
> GPL license.  
> This in itself is not a huge problem.  Your license is substantially
> similar to other licenses that the FSF says are GPL compatible (e.g.
> the ZPL or the Cryptix General License).
> The inclusion of the GPL licensed file triggers the requirements of
> section 2b of the GPL, which requires that the entire work be GPL'd.
> As I said before your license is compatible with the GPL so this on a
> cursory review wouldn't be a problem. 
> However, you do not include source for the dsplibs.o or the amrlibs.o
> file.  This conflicts with section 3 of the GPL that requires the
> source code be made available.

Yes, conflict is obvious (of course IANAL).

> Solutions to the problem are as follows:
> 1) License all files under the GPL and include source for the two
> object files.
> 2) Change the license on modem_at.c.  How you do this depends upon to
> what degree you own the copyright to this code.
>   a) You have complete copyright to the code and remove the GPL
>   license
>      replacing it with your existing license.  Alternatively, you
>      could dual license (i.e. say you can use either your license or
>      the GPL). Both of these are essentially the same as your license
>      is GPL compatible anyway.
>   b) You do not have complete copyright and adapted the code from a
>   GPL
>      source.  In which case you are violating that persons copyright
>      as you are not including any copyright indicating that.  I
>      suspect due to the lack of the copyright notice for something
>      like that that this isn't the case.  However, if it is you would
>      need to get the permission to relicense the code under your
>      license or rewrite the code from scratch.  
> I believe this conflict is relatively easy to resolve.  I anticipate
> you can do 2a and continue on.

As fast fix I am going to replace modem_at.c file header - 2a.

> I'm also CC'ing debian-legal on this as they distribute your code in
> the sl-modem-daemon package.  The package is currently in non-free. 
> Doing 1 would result in it being able to move to free (unless someone
> else sees another problem).  However, until 2 is done I'd suspect
> Debian is going to have to remove the package.
> Additionally, there are other files (kernel-ver.c, all the files in
> patches and scripts) which do not contain any license at all. 
> Appropriate copyright notices should be added to them.  The debian
> startup script appears to have been contributed by a 3rd party so
> you'd need to contact that individual to get the appropriate copyright
> notice.

At the moment all 'scripts' directory content was contributed by users
and included (then included) AS IS. Those files are not part of
SmartLink product, redistribution is permitted by contributors.

>  And the ALSA patches would need to be GPL licensed in order
> to be applied and used.

I don't see any problem here. This patch consists one new GPL licensed
file, and modifications of GPL licensed files(ALSA drivers) - those
modifications becomes GPL by default.

Also the patch itself becomes obsolete since ICH based modem support was
included in ALSA main tree.

> It may be useful to include a COPYING file
> that applies your license to any file that doesn't say otherwise
> within its contents.

Agree. Thanks for suggestion.

> If you have any questions about this please let me know.  I'll be more
> than happy to spend some time with you explaining the problems and
> working with you to reach a resolution to this licensing problem.

Thanks and Best Regards,

Sasha. ('slmodem-2.9.x' maintainer).

> -- 
> Ben Reser <ben@reser.org>
> http://ben.reser.org
> "Conscience is the inner voice which warns us somebody may be
> looking."- H.L. Mencken

Reply to: