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Re: libbitcoin license - AGPL with clauses added by SFLC and FSF

On 21/05/14 22:22, Turkey Breast wrote:
> Hi,
> I've made a Bitcoin library, and am seeking inclusion into Debian. We (me and the mentor) are seeking guidance going forwards over a license issue.
> The basic issue is that this project uses an AGPL license with several additions, which we were given to me by the SFLC and vetted by the FSF. They fix an issue with the AGPL which is unique to Bitcoin (ability to distribute the source code when using a service), add a lesser clause and an OpenSSL exception (although we are currently transitioning away from OpenSSL).
> The full text is here:
> https://github.com/libbitcoin/libbitcoin/blob/master/LICENSE
> Emails from SFLC and FSF:
> https://wiki.unsystem.net/index.php/Libbitcoin/License
> Explanation of why this is necessary:
> http://lists.dyne.org/lurker/message/20140513.150838.39b61dfb.en.html
> http://lists.dyne.org/lurker/message/20140513.153343.b480ed75.en.html
> Debian developer's (Jonas is in CC) grievances here:
> https://github.com/spesmilo/libbitcoin/issues/5
> Anyway if the issue is intractable, we can migrate to vanilla LGPL for inclusion into Debian. But I'm seeking here guidance on the best path for everyone in terms of software quality and our users.
> Here is the relevant ITP Debian bug report with discussion:
> https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=670701
> Thanks.

I notice that you have made several changes to the license over time.
You need to get the permission of all of the other contributors to be
able to change the license.

You do not own the copyright on other contributors' contributions, and
(before 12 Dec 2013) they have released their contributions under
different terms than you release it under now.

To make the changes to the license, you will have to get the permission
of all of the contributors (or, if you remove a contributor's
contributions, then you don't have to get permission from that contributor).

If you cannot legally make the changes, then the current license with
exceptions is invalid and libbitcoin will not be able to be included in

However, according to github, there are only 14 contributors, so you
shouldn't be too hard to get their permission.

Good luck, and I hope that libbitcoin is soon included in Debian!

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