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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG: a summary

Gervase Markham <gerv-gmane@gerv.net> writes:
> On 21/02/12 10:36, MJ Ray wrote:

>> Secondly, it allows retrospective amendment: I'm sure such licences
>> have been rejected in the past (often called the "tentacles of evil"
>> test).  Non-permanent licences that could start failing DFSG 1 or 3 at
>> an arbitrary-but-unknown future date are at least a practical problem
>> for stuff that has releases we want to archive forever.

>> This isn't the usual situation for "or any later version" licences
>> because there's the option of continuing with the current version.

>> So, as it makes it non-free, the rest of the posted argument fails.

> DFSG 4:

> "The license may require derived works to carry a different name or
> version number from the original software."

> Are you saying that if a license requires unilateral renaming, it's OK
> under DFSG 4, but if it requires renaming under certain circumstances (a
> less strict requirement), it's not OK under DFSG 4? Or is it OK to
> require renaming under certain circumstances as long as those
> circumstances are sufficiently clear at the time of receiving the
> software?

I disagree with MJ's analysis that this license fails the DFSG.  I agree
with MJ's analysis that it shouldn't be allowed in the archive.  It's
possible to have licenses that are DFSG-free but unsupportable due to
their impact on our stable maintenance policies, and I think this is a
good example of such a license.

If I were packaging such a piece of software, I would proactively remove
that clause from the license (nothing seems to prevent me from doing so),
which would resolve the whole problem.  That's a little like proactively
renaming software covered by trademark, but less intrusive and therefore
easier to decide to do.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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