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Re: CeCILL license : Free Software License for french research

Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 07, 2004 at 02:22:51AM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
>>Here we go again. Are these "you will use *my* court" terms acceptable 
>>or not? :-/

Not, in my opinion.

> It also has a bogus "breathing, eating or talking means you agree to
> this" clause, and it's annoyingly long for a free license.

Not to mention other possibly non-free clauses:
> The intellectual property rights over the Contributions are attached to
> the holder of the economic rights as designated by effective legislation.

It is unclear whether this means "the holder of the rights over the
Contributions" (since it doesn't use the capitalized term "Holder"), in
which case it is a no-op, or whether it means that rights are assigned
to the holder of the original rights, in which case it is an attempt at
a mandatory copyright assignment, and non-free.  I suspect the former
meaning, but the clause is not clear enough to be certain.

> 6.4.2. The Licensee undertakes not to directly or indirectly infringe
> the intellectual property rights of the Holder and/or Contributors and
> to take, where applicable, vis-à-vis its staff, any or all measures
> required to ensure respect for said intellectual property rights of the
> Holder and/or Contributors.

This seems far too broad to be Free.

The license also contains many clauses that suggest a belief that the
license controls _use_ of the software, which has no backing in (US, at
least) copyright law.  While these clauses do not seem to be non-free,
they do set a bad example.

However, all that is most likely a non-issue, given:
> If there aren't any problems with the apparent dual-licensing with the GPL,
> though, then it's free.  That clause, much like the rest of the license, is
> strange; I don't know if that's a result of translation or lawyers, but it
> should probably be looked at on its own.
>>In the event that the Modified or unmodified Software includes a code
>>that is subject to the provisions of the GPL License, the Licensee is
>>authorized to redistribute the whole under the GPL License.
>>In the event that the Modified Software includes a code that is subject
>>to the provisions of the GPL License, the Licensee is authorized to
>>redistribute the Modified Software under the GPL License.

This clause seems to clearly allow usage of the licensed software under
the GPL, which would remove any issues of Freeness with the rest of the
license.  However, there is one more clause to consider before the
license can be considered Free by conversion to the GPL:
> 11.5. LANGUAGE
> The Agreement is drafted in both French and English. In the event of a
> conflict as regards construction, the French version shall be deemed
> authentic.

So someone versed in legalistic French needs to read the French version
of the license and check that clause 5.3.4 in that version clearly
allows conversion to the GPL.

- Josh Triplett

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