geotrans license: asking for advice
I have packaged a nice software called geotrans (ITP #468918):
whose author is NGA (US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency). You
can find my work at http://rover.thehackers.org/geotrans/
The package provides a GUI written in java that is like a calculator,
and a library
providing functions to convert between coordinate systems, map projections
The problem is that the license says:
"NGA hereby grants to each user of the software a license to use and
distribute the software, and develop derivative works."
Unfortunately, this doesn't explicitly permit the distribution of
derivative works, so it is non-free and ftp-masters rejected my first upload.
It is a shame I missed it, but I did it. In the license they say
things like "Although
NGA makes no copyright claim under Title 17 U.S.C., NGA claims copyrights in
the source code under other legal regimes.", so it was clear for me that they
were allowing distribution... but the magic words are missing in the license :(
I've asked the authors to clarify this, and I recently got a mail saying:
> derivative works may be distributed, if they adhere to these "Terms." A
> new version (GEOTRANS 2.4.2) will be made available shortly.
> 2. NGA requests that products developed using the software credit the source
> of the software with the following statement, "The product was developed
> using GEOTRANS, a product of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
> (NGA) and U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center." Do
> not use the name GEOTRANS for any derived work.
But I can not find "you can distribute derived works" anywhere... maybe you can
understand that you can because point 2 requests giving credit in "products
developed using the software" (so you can distribute them, if you can't is
useless to give credit)..., and also is the requirement that the name
can not be used in any derived work, so it is clear that:
-you can do derivative works using a different name (maybe geotranz? ;-)
-you must give credit them in derivative works, so... can you distribute them???
I have asked them again to clarify these points:
> Could you please change that sentence to: "NGA hereby grants to each user
> of the software a license to use and distribute the software, develop and
> distribute derivative works." ?
> In point 2 it is clear that credit must be given to the software and that the
> name of "geotrans" can not be used in derivative works. But... fixing a bug
> in the source, or changing something is a derivative work?
> I had modified geotrans sources to adapt them to the Debian Operating
> System, that changes are only to compile (makefile changes) and build
> geotrans (missing import directives for my compiler) from the source, and
> some small changes to make the help work in Debian (netscape changed to
> x-www-browser and the directory where help files are). I have also modified
> the geotrans icon so it has a transparent background.
> All of that changes I understand they are not derivative works, so the name of
> "geotrans" can be used in the Debian distribution of geotrans. Do you agree?
What should I do? What do you think?
1. The GEOTRANS source code ("the software") is provided free of charge by
the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) of the United States
Department of Defense. Although NGA makes no copyright claim under Title 17
U.S.C., NGA claims copyrights in the source code under other legal regimes.
NGA hereby grants to each user of the software a license to use and
distribute the software, and develop derivative works.
2. NGA requests that products developed using the software credit the
source of the software with the following statement, "The product was
developed using GEOTRANS, a product of the National Geospatial-Intelligence
Agency (NGA) and U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center."
Do not use the name GEOTRANS for any derived work.
3. Warranty Disclaimer: The software was developed to meet only the
internal requirements of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
The software is provided "as is," and no warranty, express or implied,
including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and
fitness for particular purpose or arising by statute or otherwise in law or
from a course of dealing or usage in trade, is made by NGA as to the
accuracy and functioning of the software.
4. NGA and its personnel are not required to provide technical support or
general assistance with respect to public use of the software. Government
customers may contact NGA.
5. Neither NGA nor its personnel will be liable for any claims, losses, or
damages arising from or connected with the use of the software. The user
agrees to hold harmless the United States National Geospatial-Intelligence
Agency (NGA). The user's sole and exclusive remedy is to stop using the
6. Please be advised that pursuant to the United States Code, 10 U.S.C.
425, the name of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the initials
"NGA", the seal of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or any
colorable imitation thereof shall not be used to imply approval,
endorsement, or authorization of a product without prior written permission
from United States Secretary of Defense. Do not create the impression that
NGA, the Secretary of Defense or the Director of National Intelligence has
endorsed any product derived from GEOTRANS.