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Re: Is this license DFSG free?

Glenn Maynard wrote:

On Wed, Jun 15, 2005 at 09:44:55PM -0700, Sean Kellogg wrote:

Given that we are all concerned about copyrights and having proof that the code is free and not ripped off from SCO or whoever, identification seems to be a worthy goal of free software, which must be balanced against certain privacy concerns.

It doesn't seem to help; identifying myself as the author of some changes
doesn't tell anyone whether I actually have claim as the owner of those
changes (eg. work/school contracts).  I don't see how there's anything to
"balance": either you have to release your identity or you don't; there
doesn't see to be anything in between.  (I'm open to suggestions, of course.)

We are years away from it being an issue but identification may become important as copyrights lapse. As a resident of Canada I have a different copyright term, and slightly different legal recourse, than if I moved my residence a couple of hundred kilometres. Based on the discussions here the surrounding copyright law may have significant impact on the rights grant provided in the licence (to my knowledge my heirs don't have an ability to say Dave was just confused when he used the X-licence for that work at some point in the future)

Sooner than lapse dates we will see court cases where segments of the work in question have no identifiable, or valid copyright claim. I've seen several examples where code for FOO is listed as 'copyright FOO' because either team developing thought it would be easier. Without a legal entity FOO, and clear copyright assignment from contributor to legal entity FOO, I see grief when this code is part of a contested case. I've seen a couple of cases where the licensor used a licence with an unchanged jurisdiction term that moved the required jurisdiction from the country they were in. This sloppiness will impact the community.

Simply having a copyright statement is no indication that the code isn't 'ripped off'. The statement might simply be untrue. This is the net of part of SCO's claim. At least you have an idea of whom might have 'ripped' it off or legitimately developed it. Open source can carry a bigger business risk on this point. With commercial code you often have an idea of who 'ripped' the code off when someone purporting to be the owner comes to call.

I believe the point of balance is whether the requirement to release your identity (& the resulting costs in personal freedom & privacy) were balanced by the community being a stronger/better place.


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