Re: The BitTorrent Open Source License
On Wed, 09 Mar 2005 10:21:57 +0100, Josselin Mouette <email@example.com> wrote:
> BitTorrent 4.0 is distributed under a new license of its own.
> Section 6 of the preamble states:
> 6. If you sublicense the Licensed Product or Derivative Works, you
> may charge fees for warranty or support, or for accepting indemnity or
> liability obligations to your customers. You cannot charge for the
> Source Code.
> This looks non-free, but it doesn't seem to be backed by the actual
> terms of the license.
The license also seems to contradict itself here:
> 1. You may use, sell or give away the Licensed Product, alone or as a component of
> an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different
> sources. No royalty or other fee is required.
This clause states that the Licensed Product can be sold.
> 2. Both Source Code and executable versions of the Licensed Product, including
> Modifications made by previous Contributors, are available for your use. (The terms
> "Licensed Product," "Modifications," "Contributors" and "Source Code" are defined
> in the License.)
This clause states that the Licensed Product can come in a "source
code" form. Note that the licensed product can be sold as per clause
> 6. If you sublicense the Licensed Product or Derivative Works, you may charge fees
> for warranty or support, or for accepting indemnity or liability obligations to your
> customers. You cannot charge for the Source Code.
This clause prohibits the charging of money for the source code form
of the licensed product which we've already been granted license to
sell by the clauses 1 and 2.
This looks like the license author is letting folks that are running
centralized services based on a BitTorrent distribution model
(providing, say digital media, or the distribution of software to
paying customers) know that they can charge a fee for the use of
BitTorrent for the purposes of providing "paid" support or for the
purposes of indemnification of their customers from lawsuits. (For
example, a music or movie site that provides a client based on
BitTorrent indemnifying their customers from lawsuits by RIAA or
The point about not being allowed to sell the source code (as per
clause 6) seems out of placed based on what I believe the intent of
the clause to be. Regardless, saying via the first two clauses that
one can sell the source code, and then saying in clause 6 that you
can't is a pretty clear self-contradiction in my opinion.
Note, I'm not a lawyer and this is my lay opinion. Feel free to
correct me where I'm mistaken.
"Build a man a fire and he will be warm for the rest of the night. Set
a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life." -- Unknown