Subject: RE: Attribution & the Adaptive Public License
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 16:08:57 -0800

 Tue, 6 Feb 2007 16:08:57 -0800
Rick Moen wrote:
> My point to the "Exhibit B" firms is thus:  "Why on earth would you
> use a licence most of whose key terms get automatically made
> inapplicable by the basic business conditions of your market?  
<snip>
> [1] Other than copyleft licences tailored specifically to address this
> problem within the ASP market, three of which I cited:  Affero Public
> License, Honest Public License, and the GPLv3 drafts.

Please don't forget OSL 3.0, which has had an ASP provision [5, "External
Deployment"] for quite some time now. 

It is a mystery to me as well, Rick, why the users of MPL+GAP would ignore
the ASP situation, allowing many other companies to disregard the GAP
because, under the MPL, internal uses don't require reciprocity/copyleft. Or
perhaps the MPL+GAP companies will also seek to shoe-horn an ASP provision
into an MPL+GAP+ASP license. 

Whatever they choose to do, however, we've probably got enough examples of
OSD-allowed alternatives for both GAP and ASP that these companies can
finally get the OSI certification they seek if they draft their license
right. They are allowed to write their own licenses whether or not we agree
with their business/licensing models--or with their decision to base their
license on the MPL. Ultimately the market will decide anyway.

/Larry Rosen


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rick Moen [mailto:rick@linuxmafia.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:38 AM
> To: license-discuss@opensource.org
> Subject: Re: Attribution & the Adaptive Public License
> 
> A member wrote me off-list for clarification, so perhaps I should also
> post it here.
> 
> > Rick, sorry for the private e-mail, but can you please expand on this
> > part of your e-mail:
> 
> Not a problem.
> 
> > >Aside:  It strikes me as very odd that all 20-odd "Exhibit B" badgeware
> > >companies (MuleSource and others) elected to hang their clauses off a
> > >copyleft licence (Mozilla Public License) whose copyleft provisions
> > >inherently have  zero force  in their (and their competitors')
> > >no-distribution ASP usage model.  Isn't that a bit like requiring
> > >spelunkers to wear sunscreen?  Don't they realise that about 3/4 of
> > >their chosen licence is a  NO-OP  for their entire market segment?
> >
> > I am not sure what you mean here. Feel free to drop my message if you
> > don't answer private ones.
> 
> A copyleft licence's provisions stating the obligation to give others
> access to source code -- which are the main point of such licences and
> what distinguishes them from simple permissive licences such as the BSD
> and MIT/X licences -- trigger upon  distribution  of the covered code or
> of derivative works from that code.
> 
> In the ASP business model, however, you make absolutely full use of code
> without the need to ever distribute it.  Therefore, for users operating
> in that market, the source-access provisions of copyleft licences[1]
> might as well not exist, since they never operate as intended:  ASP
> users never need to publish source.  Effectively, ASP users can fork off
> proprietary derivatives of copylefted works at will, and do anything
> they wish with those, as long as they don't distribute (something their
> deployment model makes unnecessary).
> 
> Companies like Google can modify, re-use, exploit other people's GPL,
> MPL (etc.) works in ASP deployments for the entire coming millennium
> without ever needing to share back their changes.  Or, seen another way,
> if Google  does  fully honour the intent of copyleft licences by sharing
> back its changes, it can have no confidence that competitors won't then
> take Google's changes proprietary in the manner described.  The intended
> reciprocity of such copyleft licences thus gets finessed by the manner
> of deployment.
> 
> My point to the "Exhibit B" firms is thus:  "Why on earth would you
> use a licence most of whose key terms get automatically made
> inapplicable by the basic business conditions of your market?  For
>  this , you paid for expensive legal advice?"
> 
> [1] Other than copyleft licences tailored specifically to address this
> problem within the ASP market, three of which I cited:  Affero Public
> License, Honest Public License, and the GPLv3 drafts.