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Re: Thoughts on GPL's Appropriate Legal Notices? or the CPAL?

My recommendation (for basically any software, not just yours!)
is still licensing under either the GPL, LGPL or Expat "MIT/X11" license;
of which the GPL sounds like the best fit for what you want.

On Wed, 14 Dec 2011 at 14:18:41 -0500, Clark C. Evans wrote:
> Is there a debian-legal position on "Appropriate Legal Notices" 
> aspect of the GPLv3.  Including 5(d) and 7(b)

(This is my personal opinion; I'm not speaking for Debian, debian-legal,
the ftpmasters (who get the final say on whether things get into Debian
or not), my employer, or anyone else.)

As far as I understand it, the purpose of §7(b) is to make it
absolutely clear that the FSF considers BSD-style licenses - with their
"this notice must accompany the binaries and/or source" clauses - to be

Regarding §5(d), here are some Appropriate Legal Notices (which has
a defined meaning in the license) displayed by gdb whenever it starts up:

  GNU gdb (GDB) 7.3-debian
  Copyright (C) 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
  License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>
  This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
  There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
  and "show warranty" for details.

> OR, alternatively, 
> the OSI approved Common Public Attribution License ("CPAL").

I'm a DD who sometimes gives people licensing advice, and I've never heard
of that license. As far as I'm concerned, that's a great big warning sign -
please avoid obscure licenses.

> I'm asking because having appropriate credit really resonates 
> with with those in my organization who are getting behind 
> releasing our entire medical informatics system (and modules).

There's sometimes a fine line between appropriate credit and obnoxious
advertising; the more reasonable you are about it, the happier everyone
is likely to be to go along with it (and, I suspect, the more sympathetic
a court will be if you sue someone over removing whatever amount of credit
is mandated by your license).

Is the sort of thing that gdb displays enough for you/them? If so,
problem solved.

Failing that, if you make the system display what you consider to be
appropriate credit, is anyone, realistically, ever going to patch it out?
If they did, even after you asked them not to, would you sue them? (If not,
then there's no point in mandating it in a license.) From a PR point of view,
a non-binding request to do something that reasonable people would probably
do anyway seems a more friendly way to deal with your "customers" in any case.

>  * In accordance with Section 7(b) of the GNU Affero General Public
>  License version 3,
>  * these Appropriate Legal Notices must retain the display of the
>  "Powered by
>  * SugarCRM" logo. If the display of the logo is not reasonably feasible
>  for
>  * technical reasons, the Appropriate Legal Notices must display the
>  words
>  * "Powered by SugarCRM".

I think this goes beyond (A)GPLv3 §7(b): "Powered by SugarCRM" is neither an
Appropriate Legal Notice (defined in the AGPLv3 as a copyright notice,
statement of no warranty, or statement that it's under the AGPLv3) nor
an author attribution (author attributions look like this: "based on software
written by John Doe, Jane Smith and FooCorp, Inc.").

It's also not necessarily true, or advantageous to the authors of SugarCRM.
If I extracted a module from SugarCRM to use in my new webapp, it looks as
though the authors of SugarCRM are trying to require me to say
"Powered by SugarCRM" - even if the rest of my webapp is so bad that doing
so could damage SugarCRM's reputation!

(By contrast, "incorporates code from SugarCRM" would remain a true fact,
and is nicely neutral: a non-binding request to acknowledge use of SugarCRM
is much less adversarial and probably has about the same practical effect.)


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