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Re: DFSG-compliance of Unicode Copyright



On Fri, 25 Jul 2008 00:22:38 +1000 Ben Finney wrote:

> Rafael Laboissiere <rafael@debian.org> writes:
> 
> > Does anyone know whether the Unicode Copyright [1] is DFSG-compliant?
> 
> When discussing a specific license, it's best to present the text of
> the license in the thread for later reference.

Thanks for doing so.
Among other advantages, it will serve as future reference
to be sure which exact license text we are discussing.

A previous (short) thread discussed a license downloadable from
the same URL, but failed to quote the full text:
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2007/07/msg00250.html
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2007/07/msg00255.html
As a consequence, it's hard to know if what was analyzed at
that time was the same text or a different one...  :-(

> 
> Here is the text of the license as downloaded today:

In what follows, I'll try and analyze the license with respect
to the DFSG.
I'll obviously state my own personal opinions.
My usual disclaimers apply: IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP
(or did we conclude that disclaimers are useless?).

> 
> =====
>     Unicode Terms of Use
[...]
>        1. Unicode Copyright.
> 
>              1. Copyright © 1991-2008 Unicode, Inc. All rights reserved.
> 
>              2. Certain documents and files on this website contain a
>              legend indicating that "Modification is permitted." Any
>              person is hereby authorized, without fee, to modify such
>              documents and files to create derivative works conforming
>              to the Unicode® Standard, subject to Terms and Conditions
>              herein.

Even those files which are marked as modifiable, may only be modified
in conformance with a given standard.
This fails DFSG#3.

> 
>              3. Any person is hereby authorized, without fee, to view,
>              use, reproduce, and distribute all documents and files
>              solely for informational purposes in the creation of
>              products supporting the Unicode Standard, subject to the
>              Terms and Conditions herein.

Only a limited permission to reproduce and distribute for specific
purposes is granted.
This fails DFSG#1.
Even use is permitted for specific purposes only.
This fails DFSG#6.

> 
>              4. Further specifications of rights and restrictions
>              pertaining to the use of the particular set of data files
>              known as the "Unicode Character Database" can be found in
>              Exhibit 1.

The more permissive Exhibit 1 only applies to the "Unicode Character
Database".  A shame.

[...]
>              6. No license is granted to "mirror" the Unicode website
>              where a fee is charged for access to the "mirror" site.

For profit mirroring (which I see as a form of commercial
redistribution) is forbidden.
This fails DFSG#1.

> 
>              7. Modification is not permitted with respect to this
>              document. All copies of this document must be verbatim.

Modifications are in general forbidden.
This fails DFSG#3.

[...]
>        6. Miscellaneous.
> 
>              1. Jurisdiction and Venue.
[...]
>              The user agrees that any disputes
>              regarding this site shall be resolved solely in the
>              courts located in Santa Clara County, California. The
>              user agrees said courts have personal jurisdiction and
>              agree to waive any right to transfer the dispute to any
>              other forum.

Choice of venue clause.
This kind of clauses has been discussed to death in many past
debian-legal threads.  My own opinion is that they fail the DFSG.

> 
>              2. Modification by Unicode Unicode shall have the right
>              to modify this Agreement at any time by posting it to
>              this site. The user may not assign any part of this
>              Agreement without Unicode’s prior written consent.

It's not clear (at least to me, but remember that I am not an English
native speaker...) which consequences a modification of the Agreement
made by Unicode would have on already downloaded files.
Would they stay under the old version of the Agreement, or would
they magically change restrictions?

> 
>              3. Taxes. The user agrees to pay any taxes arising from
>              access to this website or use of the information herein,
>              except for those based on Unicode’s net income.

Taxes?  Which taxes?

[...]
> EXHIBIT 1
> UNICODE, INC. LICENSE AGREEMENT - DATA FILES AND SOFTWARE
> 
>     Unicode Data Files include all data files under the directories
>     http://www.unicode.org/Public/, http://www.unicode.org/reports/,
>     and http://www.unicode.org/cldr/data/ . Unicode Software includes
>     any source code published in the Unicode Standard or under the
>     directories http://www.unicode.org/Public/,
>     http://www.unicode.org/reports/, and
>     http://www.unicode.org/cldr/data/.
[...]

Exhibit 1 includes a permissive non-copyleft license which I think
complies with the DFSG, but, unfortunately, applies only to
some limited files...


-- 
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 The nano-document series is here!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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