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Debian-legal summary of the OSL v2.0

The OSL (Open Software License) v2.0 is not a DFSG free license.

- Item #5 "External Deployment" places distribution-like burdens on
  deployment.  E.g., when the Work is made available for use over a
  network source must be distributed.  This is a use restriction.  While
  the DFSG does not explicitly prohibit this, the consensus on
  debian-legal is that this is non-free.

- Item #9 "Acceptance and Termination" requires the licensee to
  acknowledge acceptance of the license.  According to the Dissident
  Test[1] this is a significant restriction on distribution (DFSG #1).

- Item #6 "Attribution Rights" requires retention of any "Attribution
  Notice," even if false.  There are no restrictions on what may be
  considered an attribution notice, so there are no clear limits on what
  materials must be retained.  This restricts modification (DFSG #3).

- Item #10 "Termination for Patent Action" terminates the license if you
  are involved in a suit with a licensor over "a patent applicable to
  software", or against anyone else over a patent relating to the Work.
  This clause is much too broad, and restricts all the freedoms that the
  license provides.


If you want a copyleft license for your work debian-legal recommends the
GPL v2.

Any attempt to modify the license to pass the DFSG would need to address
the four issues above.

NOTE: The above is not legal advice.  If you need legal advice you
should contact an attorney.

The OSL v2.0 can be found at:


It is included in full below.

[1] See item 8 in the DFSG FAQ:


Open Software License
 v. 2.0

This Open Software License (the "License") applies to any original work
of authorship (the "Original Work") whose owner (the "Licensor") has
placed the following notice immediately following the copyright notice
for the Original Work: Licensed under the Open Software License version

1) Grant of Copyright License. Licensor hereby grants You a world-wide,
   royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, sublicenseable license to do
   the following:

a) to reproduce the Original Work in copies; 

b) to prepare derivative works ("Derivative Works") based upon the Original Work; 

c) to distribute copies of the Original Work and Derivative Works to the
   public, with the proviso that copies of Original Work or Derivative
   Works that You distribute shall be licensed under the Open Software

d) to perform the Original Work publicly; and 

e) to display the Original Work publicly.   

2) Grant of Patent License. Licensor hereby grants You a world-wide,
   royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, sublicenseable license, under
   patent claims owned or controlled by the Licensor that are embodied
   in the Original Work as furnished by the Licensor, to make, use, sell
   and offer for sale the Original Work and Derivative Works.

3) Grant of Source Code License. The term "Source Code" means the
   preferred form of the Original Work for making modifications to it
   and all available documentation describing how to modify the Original
   Work.  Licensor hereby agrees to provide a machine-readable copy of
   the Source Code of the Original Work along with each copy of the
   Original Work that Licensor distributes.  Licensor reserves the right
   to satisfy this obligation by placing a machine-readable copy of the
   Source Code in an information repository reasonably calculated to
   permit inexpensive and convenient access by You for as long as
   Licensor continues to distribute the Original Work, and by publishing
   the address of that information repository in a notice immediately
   following the copyright notice that applies to the Original Work.

4) Exclusions From License Grant. Neither the names of Licensor, nor the
   names of any contributors to the Original Work, nor any of their
   trademarks or service marks, may be used to endorse or promote
   products derived from this Original Work without express prior
   written permission of the Licensor.  Nothing in this License shall be
   deemed to grant any rights to trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade
   secrets or any other intellectual property of Licensor except as
   expressly stated herein.  No patent license is granted to make, use,
   sell or offer to sell embodiments of any patent claims other than the
   licensed claims defined in Section 2.  No right is granted to the
   trademarks of Licensor even if such marks are included in the
   Original Work.  Nothing in this License shall be interpreted to
   prohibit Licensor from licensing under different terms from this
   License any Original Work that Licensor otherwise would have a right
   to license.

5) External Deployment. The term "External Deployment" means the use or
   distribution of the Original Work or Derivative Works in any way such
   that the Original Work or Derivative Works may be used by anyone
   other than You, whether the Original Work or Derivative Works are
   distributed to those persons or made available as an application
   intended for use over a computer network.  As an express condition
   for the grants of license hereunder, You agree that any External
   Deployment by You of a Derivative Work shall be deemed a distribution
   and shall be licensed to all under the terms of this License, as
   prescribed in section 1(c) herein.

6) Attribution Rights. You must retain, in the Source Code of any
   Derivative Works that You create, all copyright, patent or trademark
   notices from the Source Code of the Original Work, as well as any
   notices of licensing and any descriptive text identified therein as
   an "Attribution Notice."  You must cause the Source Code for any
   Derivative Works that You create to carry a prominent Attribution
   Notice reasonably calculated to inform recipients that You have
   modified the Original Work.

7) Warranty of Provenance and Disclaimer of Warranty. Licensor warrants
   that the copyright in and to the Original Work and the patent rights
   granted herein by Licensor are owned by the Licensor or are
   sublicensed to You under the terms of this License with the
   permission of the contributor(s) of those copyrights and patent
   rights.  Except as expressly stated in the immediately proceeding
   sentence, the Original Work is provided under this License on an "AS
   IS" BASIS and WITHOUT WARRANTY, either express or implied, including,
   without limitation, the warranties of NON-INFRINGEMENT,
   OF WARRANTY constitutes an essential part of this License.  No
   license to Original Work is granted hereunder except under this

8) Limitation of Liability. Under no circumstances and under no legal
   theory, whether in tort (including negligence), contract, or
   otherwise, shall the Licensor be liable to any person for any direct,
   indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any
   character arising as a result of this License or the use of the
   Original Work including, without limitation, damages for loss of
   goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and
   all other commercial damages or losses.  This limitation of liability
   shall not apply to liability for death or personal injury resulting
   from Licensor's negligence to the extent applicable law prohibits
   such limitation.  Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or
   limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so this exclusion
   and limitation may not apply to You.

9) Acceptance and Termination. If You distribute copies of the Original
   Work or a Derivative Work, You must make a reasonable effort under
   the circumstances to obtain the express assent of recipients to the
   terms of this License.  Nothing else but this License (or another
   written agreement between Licensor and You) grants You permission to
   create Derivative Works based upon the Original Work or to exercise
   any of the rights granted in Section 1 herein, and any attempt to do
   so except under the terms of this License (or another written
   agreement between Licensor and You) is expressly prohibited by
   U.S. copyright law, the equivalent laws of other countries, and by
   international treaty.  Therefore, by exercising any of the rights
   granted to You in Section 1 herein, You indicate Your acceptance of
   this License and all of its terms and conditions.  This License shall
   terminate immediately and you may no longer exercise any of the
   rights granted to You by this License upon Your failure to honor the
   proviso in Section 1(c) herein.

10) Termination for Patent Action. This License shall terminate
    automatically and You may no longer exercise any of the rights
    granted to You by this License as of the date You commence an
    action, including a cross-claim or counterclaim, for patent
    infringement (i) against Licensor with respect to a patent
    applicable to software or (ii) against any entity with respect to a
    patent applicable to the Original Work (but excluding combinations
    of the Original Work with other software or hardware).

11) Jurisdiction, Venue and Governing Law. Any action or suit relating
    to this License may be brought only in the courts of a jurisdiction
    wherein the Licensor resides or in which Licensor conducts its
    primary business, and under the laws of that jurisdiction excluding
    its conflict-of-law provisions.  The application of the United
    Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods
    is expressly excluded.  Any use of the Original Work outside the
    scope of this License or after its termination shall be subject to
    the requirements and penalties of the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C.
    101 et seq., the equivalent laws of other countries, and
    international treaty.  This section shall survive the termination of
    this License.

12) Attorneys Fees. In any action to enforce the terms of this License
    or seeking damages relating thereto, the prevailing party shall be
    entitled to recover its costs and expenses, including, without
    limitation, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in
    connection with such action, including any appeal of such action.
    This section shall survive the termination of this License.

13) Miscellaneous. This License represents the complete agreement
    concerning the subject matter hereof.  If any provision of this
    License is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be
    reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.

14) Definition of "You" in This License. "You" throughout this License,
    whether in upper or lower case, means an individual or a legal
    entity exercising rights under, and complying with all of the terms
    of, this License.  For legal entities, "You" includes any entity
    that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with
    you.  For purposes of this definition, "control" means (i) the
    power, direct or indirect, to cause the direction or management of
    such entity, whether by contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of
    fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding shares, or (iii)
    beneficial ownership of such entity.

15) Right to Use. You may use the Original Work in all ways not
    otherwise restricted or conditioned by this License or by law, and
    Licensor promises not to interfere with or be responsible for such
    uses by You.

This license is Copyright (C) 2003 Lawrence E. Rosen.  All rights
reserved.  Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this
license without modification.  This license may not be modified without
the express written permission of its copyright owner.


Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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