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Re: NEW ocaml licence proposal by upstream, will be part of the 3.08.1 release going into sarge.

On Thu, Aug 12, 2004 at 09:31:58AM -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> writes:
> > On Thu, Aug 12, 2004 at 08:24:30AM -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> >> OK.  You believe QPL 3 is free, and you seem to have thought about it
> >> a bunch.  So please explain to me how to do the following:
> >> 
> >> 1. Modify a QPL'd work.
> >> 2. Because of the license under which I received the material,
> >>    distribute patches representing the modifications.
> >> 3. Distribute them to the initial developer under the same license --
> >>    that is, without letting him distribute changes to my patches (such
> >>    as the application of them to the mainline source) except as
> >>    further patches.
> >> 
> >> I don't see a way to do that, but DFSG 3 says I should be able to
> >> distribute under the same license.
> >
> > Notice that you can distribute patches under any licence you well please. Only
> > binary distribution of them force you to put them under the QPL, which is
> > clearly the same licence as upstream has given you.
> No, I'm not talking about the copyleft in QPL4.  I'm talking about QPL
> 3b, and its compelled grant of a more permissive license to the
> initial developer than I received from him.  I can't give him my
> modifications under the same license under which I received the work
> from him.

No, you can place your (source-only) modifications under any licence you
like.  This isn't immediately obvious from the licence, but there is no
notification that you must licence your (source) patch under the QPL in
section 3 at all, but there is a note that *if* you do licence it under the
QPL, the author gets carte-blanche.

It would be hard to argue that the licence implies that the patch must be
under the QPL, because (a) copyright law in the jurisdictions I'm aware of
says nothing about reciprocity of terms of derived works, (b) section 4
explicitly states when you must licence your modifications under the QPL, so
it's obvious they've thought about it, and (c) 3b says "When modifications
to the Software are released under this license", which strongly implies to
me that you have a choice as to whether or not to place your modifications
under the QPL (unless compelled by section 4).

This does raise an interesting point, though -- if the Debian maintainer
accepts a patch from someone for a QPL'd work, but does not seek licence
clarification, that would make the patched version undistributable --
because the maintainer doesn't have the authority to relicence the patch,
but is unable to provide the patch under the QPL, and binary distribution is
taking place.

Methinks a quick licence audit of QPL-only packages is called for.

- Matt

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