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Re: X-Oz Technologies

On Tue, Mar 02, 2004 at 09:16:45PM -0500, selussos wrote:
> At 08:39 PM 3/2/2004 -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > Thanks for identifying the origin of the component parts of your
> > license; that is indeed useful.
> > However, X-Oz Technolgies, Inc., is not the Apache Software Foundation,
> > nor the XFree86 Project, Inc., and X-Oz is at liberty to interpret the
> > language in your copyright license as it sees fit.  X-Oz is not legally
> > bound by the interpretations -- even of the same precise language -- of
> > the Apache Software Foundation and XFree86 Project, Inc.
>   Branden,
>   Does debian-legal ask these questions to every copyright holder who _reuses_
>   an existing and acceptable license?

No, we generally only look into old licenses when an issue is brought to
our attention.

I was unaware that the X-Oz Technolgies license already existed (under a
different name, maybe?).  Can you please direct me to the software
projects that used it before X-Oz did?  I don't mean the individual
parts of the license; I know examples where those have been used.  I
mean the entire license as used by X-Oz (with other copyright holders'
names substituted, of course).  I don't recall that exact license ever
having come up on this list before, and I've been subscribed for a few
years -- but my memory is sadly imperfect.  References to where the Free
Software Foundation, Open Source Initiative, and other organizations
certified it as satisfying their standards would be helpful as well.

I am assuming that the X-Oz Technologies license is not *intended* to be
precisely identical in meaning to the XFree86 1.0 license or Apache 1.1
license, else I expect X-Oz would have simply used one or the other of
those licenses.  I had thought that X-Oz independently developed its
license because neither the XFree86 1.0 nor Apache 1.1 licenses achieved
the desired result.

Please do correct me if I've got it wrong!

>   I have read elsewhere on this list that _intent_ does not matter
>   only the text does

I don't think that's the case.  Intent *does* matter, and as I
understand it, courts (in the U.S., at least) tend to be protective of
copyright holders.  Ambiguities in copyright licensing terminology are
typically resolved in favor of the copyright holder, because a new
license between the holder and those who wish to exercise the privileges
reserved to the holder can always be negotiated.

Free software/open source licensing is an atypical beast from the
traditional perspective, though, as these are licenses that are granted
to the general public, not typically negotiated on an individual basis.

As I described the part of my message that you omitted, intent *does*
matter, and there has been a concrete example of it mattering with the
University of Washington's license on PINE.  The community interpreted
the license one way, and the University of Washington interpreted
it another way.  Being the copyright holder, the University's
interpretation was controlling.  It didn't really matter what other
people *thought* the license meant, and nobody (as far as I know) was
willing to challenge the University's interpretation in court.

>   and I think that makes sense since one cannot interpret the license
>   everytime for every reader.

I don't think that will be necessary; with luck, X-Oz's answers to the
questions Debian has raised can be dissemenated widely, as this
discussion is taking place in a public forum.  X-Oz certainly has my
permission to quote my correspondence with you on this subject if would
be helpful towards drafting a FAQ about your license, if you'd like to
do that.

G. Branden Robinson                |      What cause deserves following if
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      its adherents must bury their
branden@debian.org                 |      opposition with lies?
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |      -- Noel O'Connor

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