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

Re: licensing confusion

On Thu, 04 Mar 2004, Marek Habersack wrote:
> What makes it more "serious" this time, is the heading - which says
> "usage conditions" - that's a pretty strong statement.

Yeah, but this is on a website, not the actual code. What matters are
the copyright statements on the code and the license that they

> 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.

I've completely ignored the summary for the reasons given above.

> OK, so are you positive we can safely ignore their "usage
> conditions" and "detailed usage terms"?

Without actually reading the copyright terms of the work in question,
no. But based on the information in front of me, I see to reason to
spend any time agonizing over the useage conditions when the detailed
usage terms seem to be the actual license conditions.

> 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?

Well, then they haven't been exactly truthfull when they talk about
dual licensing the work. Again, we can't be responsible for any
possible lunacy on the part of the licensor. We read the license as
conservatively as possible, and attempt to get clarification where
necessary. In the end, if the licensor is infected with raving[1]
lunacy and wants to interpret their license in some wholly unforseen
manner, there's little we can do about it.

> 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...

Heh. There's nothing that can possibly protect a Debian user from a
court suit. See SCO v World ne IBM. We attempt to do as carefull a job
as possible so that the odds are stacked in the user's favor, but in
the end, if one of the most powerfull litigation machines on the face
of the planet can't stave off what seemingly amounts to a frivolous
lawsuit, there's very little that -legal (and Debian) can do either.

Don Armstrong

1: Not that there's anything wrong with electronica...
Miracles had become relative common-places since the advent of
entheogens; it now took very unusual circumstances to attract public
attention to sightings of supernatural entities. The latest miracle
had raised the ante on the supernatural: the Virgin Mary had
manifested herself to two children, a dog, and a Public Telepresence

-- Bruce Sterling, _Holy Fire_ p228


Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: