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Re: Non-Profit Open Software License 3.0

On Fri, 28 Mar 2008 12:13:18 -0600 Peter Saint-Andre wrote:

> Non-Profit Open Software License ("Non-Profit OSL") 3.0
> 1) Grant of Copyright License. Licensor grants You a worldwide,
> royalty-free, non-exclusive, sublicensable license, for the duration of
> the copyright, to do the following:
> c) to distribute or communicate copies of the Original Work and
> Derivative Works to the public, with the proviso that copies of Original
> Work or Derivative Works that You distribute or communicate shall be
> licensed under this Non-Profit Open Software License or as provided in
> section 17(d);

This is a copyleft-like clause.
As already discussed elsewhere in this thread, it's not a DFSG-freeness
issue, but causes the license to be GPL-incompatible, which is always

> 3) Grant of Source Code License. The term "Source Code" means the
> preferred form of the Original Work for making modifications to it and
> all available documentation describing how to modify the Original Work.

This definition of "Source Code" starts just like the one found in the
GNU GPL, but then is extended to include "all available documentation
describing how to modify the Original Work".
Very vague and problematic lawyerbomb!
It could be interpreted to include third party documents and even, say,
a textbook on the programming language the Original Work is written
into.  E.g.: if the Original Work is a program written in C++, someone
could claim that "Source Code" must include a copy of Bjarne
Stroustrup's book _The C++ Programming Language_ ...

This contaminates other software, thus failing DFSG#9.

> 5) External Deployment. The term "External Deployment" means the use,
> distribution, or communication of the Original Work or Derivative Works
> in any way such that the Original Work or Derivative Works may be used
> by anyone other than You, whether those works are distributed or
> communicated to those persons or made available as an application
> intended for use over a network. As an express condition for the grants
> of license hereunder, You must treat any External Deployment by You of
> the Original Work or a Derivative Work as a distribution under section
> 1(c).

This is an Affero-like restriction, with effects similar to the ones of
Section 13 of the GNU AGPL v3.
This kind of restriction has been discussed several times on
debian-legal.  My own opinion is that it's an unacceptable use
restriction which fails to meet the DFSG.

> 6) Attribution Rights. You must retain, in the Source Code of any
> Derivative Works that You create, all copyright, patent, or trademark
> notices from the Source Code of the Original Work, as well as any
> notices of licensing and any descriptive text identified therein as an
> "Attribution Notice."

If I read this correctly, I cannot remove or modify *any* "descriptive
text" that was put into the Original Work as an "Attribution Notice".
Even if the text is long and talks about arbitrary topics?
This restriction looks very much like the infamous Invariant Sections
of the GFDL, which clearly fail to meet DFSG#3.

> 9) Acceptance and Termination. If, at any time, You expressly assented
> to this License, that assent indicates your clear and irrevocable
> acceptance of this License and all of its terms and conditions. If You
> distribute or communicate copies of the Original Work or a Derivative
> Work, You must make a reasonable effort under the circumstances to
> obtain the express assent of recipients to the terms of this License.

That is to say?
In order to distribute, I must set up stupid click-wrap mechanisms or
anyway obtain explicit license acceptance evidence from recipients?
This sounds at least obnoxious, but also non-free, because it's a
significant restriction on distribution (see DFSG#1).

> 11) Jurisdiction, Venue and Governing Law. Any action or suit relating
> to this License may be brought only in the courts of a jurisdiction
> wherein the Licensor resides or in which Licensor conducts its primary
> business,

Choice of venue, which is IMO non-free, as discussed several times on

> and under the laws of that jurisdiction excluding its
> conflict-of-law provisions. The application of the United Nations
> Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods is expressly
> excluded.

Why is the application of this Convention excluded?
What rights do I lose by accepting to exclude the application of this
Does the law allow this exclusion when both parties agree so?

If the answer the last question is no, then this license wrongly claims
to have the magical Power to Nuke Laws(TM)...


So, in summary, I think that works solely licensed under the terms
of this license fail to comply with the DFSG.

Someone should recommend the IETF Trust to throw this license away and
adopt the GNU GPL (v2).

My classic disclaimers are: IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP.

 New! Version 0.6 available! What? See for yourself!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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