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Re: Bittorrent licensing, take 2 [MPL and Jabber inside]

Josselin Mouette wrote:
> I wrote to the BitTorrent authors about the new license for version 4,
> and finally received an answer from them.

Thank you.

> There were 2 issues with this
> license:
> 1/ The choice of venue clause;
> the authors would probably agree to remove it, only keeping the choice
> of law, which is DFSG-free.

Glad to hear that.

> 2/ The "keep source online" clause; for those who haven't read the
> earlier discussion, here is what it looks like:
>>        The Source Code for any version of Licensed Product or
>>        Modifications that you distribute must remain available for at
>>        least twelve (12) months after the date it initially became
>>        available, or at least six (6) months after a subsequent version
>>        of said Licensed Product or Modifications has been made
>>        available.  You are responsible for ensuring that the Source
>>        Code version remains available even if the Electronic
>>        Distribution Mechanism is maintained by a third party.
> Their line of reasoning is that it such a clause is present in several
> other licenses: the APSL, RPSL, MPL and Jabber licenses. The APSL and
> RPSL are non-free, so that's not a problem. IIRC, the MPL was said to be
> problematic because of the clauses talking about patents, not about that
> one. However, the Jabber license is considered DFSG-free.

Did you mention that this clause (as well as the previous one) makes the
license GPL-incompatible, which has rather strong implications given the
large number of Free works based on bittorrent?

Do they have any particular reasons for wanting the source made
available for longer than the binary, rather than simply using a
GPL-like clause that permits distributionn of sources alongside the binary?

As it is, if I want to distribute a piece of GPLed software, I can put
the source and binaries both on my site.  If I then want to stop, I can
just remove all of it.  However, with this license, I have to leave the
source up for another year, despite the fact that there was never a time
in which someone could obtain the binaries and did not have the
opportunity to obtain the source.  Similarly, if Debian wants to start
distributing a new version of software under this license, it must
continue to distribute the previous source for six months.  In both
cases, this seems like a rather large imposition.

- Josh Triplett

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