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Re: Fwd: figlet license change from Artistic to Clarified Artistic or Artistic 2.0?

On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 14:39:31 -0300 Carlos Laviola wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
> Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004 13:27:26 -0400
> Subject: Re: figlet license change from Artistic to Clarified Artistic
> or Artistic 2.0?
> To: Carlos Laviola <carlos.laviola@gmail.com>
> Cc: Ian Chai <ianchai@rbacomm.com>, chappellg@member.ams.org, John
> Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>, Christiaan Keet <keet@plig.net>
> Carlos Laviola scripsit:
> > Thanks for that, but I think I'd need permission from the other
> > copyright holders -- in this case, everyone involved in this
> > discussion -- for that change to happen. They contributed code under
> > Artistic back then.
> Since none of us can possibly suffer a commercial loss, and since
> FIGlet is not registered with the Copyright Office, there is no one
> with standing to sue for statutory damages (actual damages being
> obviously $0).  Still, I agree that unanimous consent is a good thing,
> where achievable.

I think it is *necessary* that each contributor agrees on a relicensing
under a new license N...

Excluding, of course, contributions released under a license L
compatible with N (these contributions may be kept under L) or under a
weak license W that explicitly permits conversion into N (these
contributions may be relicensed without asking anything else to the

> > There are also some issues with the default fonts, which have
> > statements such as
> >
> > Shadow by Glenn Chappell 6/93 -- based on Standard & SmShadow
> > Includes ISO Latin-1
> > figlet release 2.1 -- 12 Aug 1994
> > Permission is hereby given to modify this font, as long as the
> > modifier's name is placed on a comment line.
> >
> > The "(...) as long as the modifier's name is placed on a comment
> > line" is a lot like the advertisement clause on the older BSD-like
> > licenses.
> Not at all.  The old 4-clause BSD license required that any
> *advertising* of any product incorporating licensed code had to
> mention the name of the licensor as a source of the code.  That is not
> at all the same as saying that the *code itself* must mention the name
> of anyone who changes it. Many free licenses, notably the GPL (clause
> 2a) and the MPL (clause 3.3), require at least that much.

The GPL does not require as much.
GPLv2, clause 2a reads:

|   2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
|   of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and
|   distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1
|   above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:
|    a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
|    stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

"stating that *you* changed the files" is weaker than requiring "stating
that you changed the files and stating which *your name* is".

Requiring that the modifier's name is placed in a comment line fails the
Dissident Test.

> Both the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation have
> analyzed the AFL and declared it conformant to their definitions of
> "open source" and "free".  The FSF also claims that the AFL is
> incompatible with the GNU GPL, but I (and the author of the AFL)
> believe this to be incorrect, and a failure to reflect on the
> sublicenseability (that is, the right of a distributor of original or
> modified works to replace the AFL with his own license, proprietary or
> open) of the AFL.  I have asked the AFL's author to make this point
> clearer in AFL 2.2.

It seems that a rather clear consensus about the AFL is being formed
here at debian-legal: it doesn't comply with DFSG and it's

> > Wouldn't you agree on choosing a more thoroughly analyzed license,
> > such as the GPL, version 2, for FIGlet?
> Definitely not.  Copyleft licenses are antithetical to the spirit of
> FIGlet.

If upstream authors don't like copyleft (nothing wrong in liking it, nor
in disliking it: it's a matter of tastes...), I can suggest some
simple non-copyleft DFSG-free license they could consider:

Expat (a.k.a. MIT) license _______ http://www.jclark.com/xml/copying.txt
X11 (a.k.a. MIT) license _________ http://www.x.org/Downloads_terms.html
2-clause BSD license _ http://www.fsf.org/licenses/info/BSD_2Clause.html
3-clause BSD license _ http://www.fsf.org/licenses/info/BSD_3Clause.html

          Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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