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

> I have just discovered that Bacula has a problematic clause in its
> license.
> From
> http://bacula.cvs.sourceforge.net/bacula/bacula/LICENSE?revision=
> ----
> Termination for IP or Patent Action:
> In addition to the termination clause specified in the GPL, this
> license shall terminate automatically and you may no longer
> exercise any of the rights granted to you by this license as of
> the date you commence an action, including a cross-claim or
> counterclaim, against any licensor of GPL software alleging that
> the software infringes an intellectual property right or a
> patent.  Special dispensation from or delay to the execution of
> this clause may be possible by applying directly to the license
> owner of this software.  Such a dispensation or delay is valid
> only in writing and signed by the one or more of the license
> holders.
> ----
> 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
> Furthermore, it may not be DFSG-free.  I don't think debian-legal has
> decided on this.  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.

If I remember correctly, I pulled this clause from some existing license
-- perhaps an IBM license. I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that
intellectual property right does not include copyright -- if it does, then
the clause does not do what I intended, because I have nothing against

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

Well, I cannot imagine how in the world the clause implies the above. It
is an anti-abuse clause rather than one that gives permissions to use
other people's software.

> I suggest to Kern that he just drop this clause.  It doesn't operate as
> intended and it causes problems.  Hopefully a satisfactory
> patent-retaliation clause will be avaialbe in a future version of the
> GPL.

There is no need to respond to my remarks above other than to educate me
on why the clause may say something totally unrelated to how I read it
(your second point), because I have no problem dropping the clause.


PS: yes the comments from someone in another email on the "terrible"
clause or whatever was written were probably not at the highest levels of
diplomacy, but I didn't take offense, so no problem ...

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