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

Glenn Maynard scripsit:

> It seems that this license is actually doing two fundamentally distinct
> things: granting a license to people to do stuff, and making promises
> from the distributor/licensor.


> I think this combination is what makes it
> so confusing: it looks like it requires these promises be made by everyone.
> This is probably partially a result of the GPL's influence, and partially
> because almost no free licenses place any kind of "restrictions" on the
> licensor (calling them restrictions is also confusing; that's not really
> what they are, since they're voluntary and you lose nothing if you don't
> want to make them).

"Obligations", then.  I choose to use the AFL and make those promises
because I hold that the right to be sued (which is to say, the right to
make binding and enforceable promises) is one of my more important rights.
There are also other reasons.

> I'm sure there's some way to make this stuff clearer for people used to
> more typical free licenses, but I'm not sure what it is.

AFL code is freely redistributable and freely usable in programs under
any kind of license, proprietary, copyleft, or BSD-ish.  The claim
that it's incompatible with the GPL, in particular, is just wrong, because
you can change the license on the copies you distribute from AFL to GPL.

> Could you give an example of something that would "contradict the AFL",
> that isn't allowed?  (If I'm allowed to distribute the work under the X11
> license, then it seems like anything is allowed, except for obvious things
> like removing the author's name.)

That's the whole idea.  It's a "copycenter" license: take the code
down to the copy center and make as many copies (or derivatives)
as you want.

> > "Consideration is as much a matter of form as seal."  Any benefit to the
> > licensee, however slight, constitutes consideration.  A court has to go
> > out of its way to find that there is no consideration whatever.  (IANAL.)
> This is an assertion of how the law works, I've seen contradicting
> assertions, and I've seen claims that it may be very different
> depending on where you are (that contract law isn't nearly as uniform
> as copyright law, which does vary but tends to sit in a couple major
> camps).  I can't draw any useful conclusions from all that, though
> I'd speculate that all of them may be correct: that in some places,
> any benefit is consideration, and others require more.

Possibly.  No one can authoritatively say what the law is except the
various courts of final jurisdiction worldwide.

> This isn't a legal principle, it's an assertion.  Why is my grant of
> copyright license revocable?

You should rather ask: what is there about any statement that makes
it irrevocable?  The fact that it forms part of a valid contract.
Contracts *are* statements of intent by one party that the other can
enforce.  If I say, "I'm going to give you a million dollars", and
then say "No I'm not", I've revoked my promise, but because there is
no contract you cannot enforce this promise.

> I just can't find comparisons to "permission
> to trespass" very convincing.  (I've also heard things along the lines
> of "allow people to trespass on your land for long enough and you can no
> longer prevent it"--some kind of implicit permission--and I'm very sure
> that has no relation to copyright law.)

That is a matter of the trespasser *obtaining* a legal right to do so,
which is called an easement in common-law countries and prescription
in civil-law ones.  These are transferable independent legal rights --
I can sell you my easement, for example -- and are not at all a
matter of "implicit permission".  But that's by the way.


John Cowan  jcowan@reutershealth.com  www.reutershealth.com  www.ccil.org/~cowan
Original line from The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold:
"Only on Barrayar would pulling a loaded needler start a stampede toward one."
English-to-Russian-to-English mangling thereof: "Only on Barrayar you risk to
lose support instead of finding it when you threat with the charged weapon."

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