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Re: Bacula license (was Re: Help Selecting License for Bacula Documentation



On Thu, 18 May 2006 13:54:46 -0400 Nathanael Nerode wrote:

> I have just discovered that Bacula has a problematic clause in its
> license.

Thanks for pointing this terrific clause out.

> 
> From
> http://bacula.cvs.sourceforge.net/bacula/bacula/LICENSE?revision=1.6.2.2&view=markup
> 
> ----
> Termination for IP or Patent Action: 
[...]
> ----
> 
> This is an additional restriction beyond those in the GPL.  Therefore
> this renders the license GPL-incompatible.  Which is a major problem
> since other parts of Bacula are licensed under pure GPL.  :-P

Indeed a major problem (and possibly a copyright violation, if those
pure-GPL'd parts are copyrighted by other people that didn't agree with
this "hyper-retaliation" clause).

> 
> Furthermore, it may not be DFSG-free.  I don't think debian-legal has 
> decided on this.

My vote is "this does not comply with the DFSG".

> The key point here is that this clause retaliates 
> against someone who sues *any* licensor of *any* GPL software, not
> just  the licensors of Bacula.  The really disturbing part is that
> this isn't  restricted to patents, put refers to "an intellectual
> property right".   This means that my license to use Bacula is revoked
> if I sue claiming  that some GPL'ed work has included portions of my
> copyrighted code  without permission, or claiming that some GPL'ed
> work has used my *trademark* unfairly and without permission.

Overly broad restriction: unacceptable.

> 
> I suspect that this will not be considered a reasonable clause by most
> people on debian-legal.

Indeed.

> It effectively says "As long as you use
> Bacula,  you grant everyone in the world the right to use any or your
> copyrighted  work in any GPLed program, and you grant eveyone in the
> world the right  to use your trademark as a name or advertisement for
> any GPLed program." This can't be what was intended.
> 
> I suggest to Kern that he just drop this clause.  It doesn't operate
> as  intended and it causes problems.

Dropping the clause is the best resolution, no doubt about it.

> Hopefully a satisfactory 
> patent-retaliation clause will be avaialbe in a future version of the 
> GPL.

I don't know: I don't even know whether future versions of the GPL will
comply with the DFSG...  :-(

-- 
    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
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  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
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