Re: How might I convince my school not to use this product?
On Fri, Apr 30, 2004 at 12:09:52PM -0700, Elizabeth Fong wrote:
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> My school is looking into installing Stanford's Coursework application for
> managing online course sites:
> However, its license seems to be decidedly non-free, and I'm trying to
> convince my school not to use it. This is for the following reasons:
> 1.) It requires Sun's JRE
> 2.) It requires Oracle, and has limited support for Free alternatives
> (experimental support for Postgre only)
> 3.) Its license (http://getcoursework.stanford.edu/license.html) is
Doesn't seem that prohibitive to me, see below (note: IANAL,
> > Open Source License
> > CourseWork
> > Copyright © 2004 Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford
> > Junior University License Agreement
> > By obtaining and/or copying the application or source code
> > for CourseWork, you agree that you have read, understand,
> > and will comply with the following terms and conditions of
> > the License.
> > Title and copyright in CourseWork and any associated
> > documentation will at all times remain with the Board of
> > Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
> > (Stanford). Subject to the terms and conditions of this
> > Agreement, Stanford hereby grants to any person obtaining a
> > copy of CourseWork a nonexclusive, royalty-free license
> > under only any copyright interest Stanford has in CourseWork
> > to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, perform and/or
> > distribute copies of CourseWork, and to permit persons to
> > whom CourseWork is furnished to do so.
> Doesn't say anything about distributing derivative works - one
> has the right to create them, but not to distribute them.
Except for Pine, the "and/or" phrase is generally interpreted to
grant that combination too.
> In addition, doesn't specify that derivative works have the
> same license applied.
It says that you *can* put derivative works under the same
license, but also permits other choices. More freedom for you!
> > CourseWork may not be distributed in any form for a fee.
> Clearly not Free, since it doesn't allow charging for the
> time/media for making a copy
Fails DFSG#1, which requires permission to charge *unlimited*
amounts, if you can get anyone to pay.
> > Distributions of CourseWork in source code and/or executable
> > form must retain all copyright notices in the Software as
> > furnished by the Licensor, this list of conditions, and the
> > following disclaimers in the code, documentation and/or
> > other materials provided with the distribution.
Standard clause not to remove the copyright notices, just in
case it is not already against the law in some places.
> > Neither the names of Stanford, nor the names of any
> > contributors to CourseWork, nor any of their trademarks or
> > service marks, may be used to endorse or promote products
> > derived from this Software without express prior written
> > permission of Stanford.
> I forget whether this is permissible for DFSG-free.
Its in all the common BSD variants, see DFSG#10, so OK.
> > Except for the license granted you under Stanford's
> > copyright interest in CourseWork, Stanford retains all
> > right, title and interest in CourseWork and any intellectual
> > property rights in CourseWork. Without limiting the
> > foregoing, no license is granted you or any other party
> > under any patent owned or held by Stanford.
> In other words, all your modifications are belong to Stanford.
No it just says the Stanford isn't implicitly granting any
permissions to Stanford's original code not granted explicitly
above. It doesn't take away anything and your modifications are
The patent phrase could be a trap, as Stanford actually does
have active software patents, with various degrees of license
freeness, but it could just be another "don't read into this any
permissions not already listed" written as a separate sentence
for technical reasons.
> > COURSEWORK IS PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. THERE IS
> > NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. ALL WARRANTIES
> > ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY
> > WARRANTIES OF TITLE, MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR
> > PURPOSE, NONINFRINGEMENT OR ARISING OUT OF A PARTICULAR
> > COURSE OF DEALING. YOUR USE OF THE SOFTWARE IS AT YOUR OWN
> > RISK. IN NO EVENT SHALL ANY LICENSOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY
> > CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF
> > CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, RELATING TO, ARISING FROM OR IN
> > CONNECTION WITH SOFTWARE OR ANY USE OF THE SOFTWARE.
> > CourseWork is provided under the terms of this license
> > without support, and with no commitments stated or implied,
> > for technical assistance, modification or upgrade from the
> > Licensor.
> Standard no warranty stuff
> Any suggestions? Alternatives I might suggest?
> Elizabeth Fong
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