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Re: Freepats

Ryan Underwood <nemesis-lists@icequake.net> writes:

> On Wed, Apr 21, 2004 at 10:41:27AM +1000, Brian May wrote:
>> I would suggest you use the GPL, and add a note somewhere that you
>> interpret the GPL as above. If anyone disagrees with your
>> interpretation (and so far nobody has), then the issue can be resolved
>> at that time.
>> To do this, you could add the GPL COPYING file to the archive, and
>> then a COPYRIGHT file that lists the copyright holders, and the fact
>> the files are licensed for use under the GPL.
> I don't seem to be getting mail from the BTS on this bug.  Anyway, it
> seemed to me that the Creative Commons licenses would be more
> appropriate since they were specifically designed to cover media:
> This one is just a MIT-ish license:
> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/

That is not an MIT-like license.  It imposes the following restriction
on distribution of certain modifications:

  If you distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or publicly
  digitally perform the Work or any Derivative Works or Collective

Does deployment of a network service count as digital performance?
What does digital performance mean?  It's kind of a new term, so it's
hard to say in detail.

  Works, You must keep intact all copyright notices for the Work and
  give the Original Author credit reasonable to the medium or means You
  are utilizing by conveying the name (or pseudonym if applicable) of
  the Original Author if supplied; the title of the Work if supplied; in
  the case of a Derivative Work, a credit identifying the use of the
  Work in the Derivative Work (e.g., "French translation of the Work by
  Original Author," or "Screenplay based on original Work by Original
  Author"). Such credit may be implemented in any reasonable manner;

This sounds like a point on which reasonable people could disagree.  I
think reasonable credit for contributors to my for-pay web service is
nothing.  Reasonable credit for contributors to WhizBangEdit is a name
in the README.

  provided, however, that in the case of a Derivative Work or Collective
  Work, at a minimum such credit will appear where any other comparable
  authorship credit appears and in a manner at least as prominent as
  such other comparable authorship credit.

And the credit has to appear as big as, and in the same place as,
comparable credit.  What's comparable?  I guess it means that you
don't have to call GNU Emacs "GNU Bob Emacs" unless Bob contributes as
much as GNU, but it really sounds like a point on which reasonable
people could disagree.

I'm not convinced that this license is non-free, but it certainly does
not grant all the freedoms of the MIT/X11 license.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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