Subject: Re: WebM license third-party submission
From: Bruce Perens <>
Date: Wed, 26 May 2010 14:55:49 -0700

Chris DiBona wrote:
> 1) We will want a label explicitly deterring the use of the license.
OSI has an existing process for this.
> 2) We will want the bod list archives open for any discussions of webm. We
> are not comfortable with OSI being closed.
I think you aren't familiar with the way this really works. 
Unfortunately, most of the OSI board don't want to be involved in 
license approval. This seems odd to those of us who think that license 
approval is OSI's only legitimate task, but that's why people like 
Webmink are trying to reform OSI from inside.

The effect of the above is that the discussion is carried out right here 
on a public list, and then Russ makes a recommendation based on it, and 
the board rubber-stamps that.

So, IMO you are already seeing the discussion.

That said, OSI approved one license that had never seen a lawyer last 
year, and IMO it was a mistake. Standards need to be higher - if you 
don't have a lawyer working on the license, it is dangerous to the 
developers and OSI should consider that before approving. The problem 
was made very clear to us with the initial effect of Artistic 1.0 on the 
lower court judge's ruling in Jacobsen v. Katzer.
> 3) We need to know OSI's current corporate status. I heard that osi was a
> california corporation again, but I would like to know, from the group, that
> this is true for 2010 and that there aren't any issues there.
We would all like to see this fixed, but consider that IETF has never 
been incorporated and Google implements their standards. And IETF's 
processes are even more arcane. Ask someone who works with them about 
the "humming vote", and Larry or I can explain their unenforcible IPR 
policy. Ultimately whether OSI is an association or a corporation is not 
relevant to license approval.
> This might sound stridant, but I think that OSI needs to be more open about its workings
to retain credibility in the space.
With all due respect, Chris, Google is so arrogant in refusing to 
discuss its processes with anyone that  this request isn't terribly 
credible. Remember when I was thrown off of Adsense, and Google wouldn't 
tell me why, and you had to intervene? Lots of us would be happy to join 
Google's advisory board when you have one you're willing to listen to.