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Re: Please pass judgement on X-Oz licence: free or nay?

Robert Millan writes:

> On Tue, Aug 03, 2004 at 02:01:03AM +1000, Daniel Stone wrote:
> > /*
> >  * Copyright 2003 by David H. Dawes.
> >  * Copyright 2003 by X-Oz Technologies.
> >  * All rights reserved.
> >  *
> >  * Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a
> >  * copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"),
> >  * to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation
> >  * the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense,
> >  * and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the
> >  * Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
> (I recall hearing something like this from Branden on IRC, but anyway)
> Doesn't explicitly grant permission to distribute modified software, so it
> fails to comply with DFSG #3.

Three answers:

First: The most obvious way to read the "and/or" disjunction is that
you may exercise any of the granted rights in combination.

Second: Copyright law, at least in the US, does not explicitly reserve
the right to distribute derivative works to the original copyright
holder, although it reserves each right separately.  To have the
effect you describe, I believe the license would have to explicitly
prohibit distribution of derivative works if it grants the other two
rights separately.

Third: If you think that is a problem, lots of other licenses have
problems.  Most variants of the BSD license say "Redistribution and
use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are
permitted" -- but do not explicitly grant permission to make those
modifications.  Several variants of the MIT license used in X11
(including those used by The Open Group and X Consortium) use
essentially[1] the same wording as above, up until "subject to the
following conditions," so they would not allow distribution of
modified versions per your argument.

I appreciate due paranoia about license terms, but when they are so
close to widely-used licenses in main, it makes me wonder how much
diligence went into the arguments.

[1]- Relative to the others, the Dawes/X-Oz licenses adds "sublicense"
to the list of rights granted.

Michael Poole

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