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Re: Debian Legal summary of the X-Oz License

On Sun, Mar 21, 2004 at 04:29:43PM -0500, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> On Mar 8, 2004, at 20:27, Branden Robinson wrote:
> >since it is reasonable for the public to believe that if
> >any existing copyright license achieved the specific ends the copyright
> >holder desired, an existing license would have been used.
> I don't find this argument to be, in general, convincing: We should not 
> assume that a license's author had knowledge of all other licenses.
> Now, OTOH, if we know the copyright holder took an existing license and 
> changed it, then "why" is certainly a good question (especially if we 
> don't see any obvious difference).

You're right; I generalized too broadly.

I do think my reasoning is generally applicable to the case where a
license holder constructs a license that includes substantial portions
of the verbatim text of other licenses, and it is particularly
applicable to cases, like this one, where the license holder explicitly
acknowledged doing so.

To recap, when:

* We know the license author is aware of existing licenses; and
* The license author doesn't explain exactly how those existing licenses
  are deficient; and
* The license author doesn't explain how the new license works, in
  contrast to the deficient licenses used to construct the new license,

...then I do not think we can accept that new license as DFSG-free if
there is any DFSG-freeness defect or ambiguity on its face.

That appears to be the case with the X-Oz and XFree86 1.1 licenses.

G. Branden Robinson                |     My first priority in any attack is
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     to solve the problem - not issue a
branden@debian.org                 |     press release.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Steve McInerney

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