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

Re: licensing confusion

On Thu, Mar 04, 2004 at 01:06:20PM -0800, Don Armstrong scribbled:
> On Thu, 04 Mar 2004, Marek Habersack wrote:
> > if we have two source files A and B producing object files A and B,
> > with both of them calling (linking to in effect) some GPL API, A
> > being derived from B (e.g. a C++ class that descends from a class
> > defined in B), A being MPL and B being GPL?
> If A is derived from B and B is GPL, then A must be distributable
> under the terms of the GPL.
OK, so at least this time I've gotten it right, heh ;)
> > cryptlib is distributed under a dual license that allows free, open-source
> > use under a GPL-like license and closed-source use under a standard
> >                              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > commercial license. In addition, cryptlib is free for use in low-cost,
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > non-open-source applications such as shareware, and for personal and
> > research use. Exact terms are given at the bottom of this page.
> License summaries are evil. In general, you have to ignore them when
> you're actually analyzing the license.
What makes it more "serious" this time, is the heading - which says "usage
conditions" - that's a pretty strong statement. Btw, what do you think about
the three bullets below that heading on the site? Is it an advertising 
clause (it's not contained in the license, but they state it is a 
requirement). Also, it seems to make the code non-distributable freely.

> In this case, they're talking about the fact that it's GPLed, but if
> you don't want to follow the GPL, we've got nifty license B that can
> be applied to closed-source vendors and random non-profits and
> shareware. Debian will basically ignore license B, and proceed to
> distribute under the GPL. [Additional grants of permision to selected
> groups don't change the DFSG-Freeness of a work, so long as all
> individuals can exercise the rights guaranteed to them under the
> DFSG.]
OK, so are you positive we can safely ignore their "usage conditions" and
"detailed usage terms"?

> > Note that the above doesn't state whether a commercial project can
> > choose whichever license, but it seems to make it clear that open
> > source is bound to their OSI-compatible license _and_ closed-source
> > to their commercial license (which would break clauses #5 and #6 of
> > DFSG, since it wouldn't be a voluntary choice of the licensee).
> No, it doesn't imply that. Dual licensing doesn't mean that you can
> pick and choose who the licenses apply to unless the licenses
> themselves have that property.
Ok, so let me try to summarize that:

1. Their free license is DFSG-free
2. Debian can ignore the other option and use the sleepycat-like license
3. A commercial Debian user (let's assume, a hosting company that sells its
   customers a server management solution that implements SSL using
   cryptlib) that has a yearly profit >US$5000 will _not_ be bound by the
   terms alternative license

I still have doubts as far as #3 above is concerned. What if somebody's
(e.g. their lawyer's) interpretation is that even though the library is
distributed with Debian under the free license, the Debian client described
above falls under the commercial license? Doesn't that discriminate that
_Debian user_ as far as the free license is concerned? I mean, the user has
the right to assume that by using (and accepting the license of) a piece of
software shipped with Debian, they will not face a court suit...



Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: