Subject: RE: License Committee Report for September 2008
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 15:17:34 -0700

Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> > The scope of every open source license is so broad--including all
> rights
> > available under the copyright act--that there is probably never a need
> for
> > what you are now calling "additional permission." ["In addition to
> being
> > allowed to copy, modify and distribute my work worldwide, you can also
> do
> > this in Europe and you can smile while you do it."]

Andrew Wilson responded:
> Would that this were true ... however, experience suggests it is not.
> For example, OSI approved the wxWindows license as open source,
> which is precisely LGPL plus an additional permission allowing
> static linking.


1. Many lawyers would argue that this doesn't need an additional permission,
and I would have personally urged the license author that he simply make a
statement (waiver) to that effect along with using the LGPL, and not submit
another license for OSI approval. :-) However, I see no reason for OSI to
ever make a recommendation on *the underlying* legal issue.

2. Creating a new license that is LGPL plus something else is a new license.
The wxWindows license stands on its own and would need to be approved on its
own. You tell me that it was. Anything wrong with that, other than that it
fosters license proliferation in order to get rid of a perceived LGPL "bug"?

3. What "additional permissions" would one possibly need with the wxWindows
license? Or with the LGPL? The fact that the wxWindows license offers its
software with fewer conditions (or one less ambiguity) than the standard
LGPL is nice but not germane to my argument.


> If (as is the case in wxWindows, or in GPLv3) a licensee always may
> remove
> additional permissions and revert to the underlying, OSI-approved
> license, then I don't think additional permissions alone change the
> open-sourceness of the augmented license.

Let me give a more precise example of that kind of scenario. The Non-Profit
OSL 3.0 disclaims the warranty of provenance. But that license automatically
reverts to the standard OSL 3.0, which includes that warranty, as soon as
the licensor is unable to declare that it is a non-profit. That is nothing
like removing an additional permission from an existing license. Both the
NOSL and OSL had to be approved on their own bases by OSI in order for the
work itself to be and always remain open source. And the original NOSL
licensor had to understand and agree in advance that, sometime in the
future, reversion to the OSL license may happen when a specific condition
can no longer be met.

/Larry





> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wilson, Andrew [mailto:andrew.wilson@intel.com]
> Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 2:39 PM
> To: License Discuss
> Subject: RE: License Committee Report for September 2008
> 
> 
> Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> 
> > The scope of every open source license is so broad--including all
> rights
> > available under the copyright act--that there is probably never a need
> for
> > what you are now calling "additional permission." ["In addition to
> being
> > allowed to copy, modify and distribute my work worldwide, you can also
> do
> > this in Europe and you can smile while you do it."]
> 
> Would that this were true ... however, experience suggests it is not.
> For example, OSI approved the wxWindows license as open source,
> which is precisely LGPL plus an additional permission allowing
> static linking.
> 
> If (as is the case in wxWindows, or in GPLv3) a licensee always may
> remove
> additional permissions and revert to the underlying, OSI-approved
> license, then I don't think additional permissions alone change the
> open-sourceness of the augmented license.
> 
> Andy Wilson
> Intel open source technology center