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Re: Academic Free License 2.1 -- free or not?

Carlos Laviola writes:

> Dear -legal friends,
> The FIGlet people are considering changing the license of the entire
> distribution from Artistic to the AFL 2.1. I've found some bits of the
> license rather strange -- too many talk about patents and
> jurisdictions -- but it might just be me.
> Here's Robert Millan's ("nyu") take on it:
> <nyu> section 5 is fun
> <nyu> no explicit permission to distribute for a fee
> <nyu> section 9 might violate the dissident test
> <nyu> section 10 and 11 sound really weird.  i can't give advice on
> these (IANAL)
> <nyu> claviola: I suggest you contact debian-legal (the mailing list)
> for an in-depth analisys

Section 5 is omitted from the AFL to keep the numbers the same as in
the Open Software License (by the same author, and generally parallel
clauses, except for the AFL's omission of 5 and parts of section 1).

Clauses like 9 have been a DFSG problem in the past; AFL 2.1 seems to
remove the worst problems (like requiring the click of an Accept
button), but is still vague enough for a lawyer to make a lot of money
arguing over its real meaning as it applies to people like Debian
mirror operators.

A lot of people think termination on patent action as in section 10 is
DFSG-free, but some disagree.  I am not sure debian-legal has a strong
consensus on it.  (Note that some packages in main use the IBM Public
License, which is broader than this.)

A lot of people think choice of venue as in section 11 is non-free,
but some disagree.  I am not sure debian-legal has a strong consensus
on it.  (Again, the IBM Public License has a similar clause.)

Michael Poole

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