Subject: Re: Apache License v2.0
From: John Cowan <>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 14:29:37 -0400

Lawrence Rosen scripsit:

> For OSL 3.0, "Licensor agrees to provide a machine-readable copy of the
> Source Code of the Original Work along with each copy of the Original Work
> that Licensor distributes.  [...]"

Fair enough, but can you be said to be a licensee when you have not
got either possession of, or access to, the Original Work?  The license
defines "you" as "an individual or legal entity exercising rights under
[...] this License".  If you don't have the licensed work in any form,
you have no rights to exercise.

> Source
> either accompanies the Original Work, or it is posted by the Licensor
> somewhere convenient. [Or else the Licensor is in breach of his own license
> and subject to paying damages and attorney's fees if a licensee can't
> actually get the source code!]

I grant that these two modes of providing access to the source
are permitted, but I don't see that they are the exclusive modes.
In particular, Licensor's obligation to provide source code may require
Licensee to do something not mentioned in the License (such as pay extra
for it).  The only thing Licensor can't do is to provide no terms at
all for access to the Source Code.

(The GPL adds "at no more than the cost of distribution" language to
prevent such source-code ransoming: as I recall, I urged you to do
the same.)

> As for the GPL, the issue with that license is usually whether a licensee
> who modifies the code is required to publish *its* source code. 

My point is the same for the GPL: if you don't have access to the source
*or* the binary, you have no rights under the GPL, or at any rate no
means of exercising them.

I believe my original point stands: if you have no access to any form
of a licensed work, you have no rights under its license.  This is a
Good Thing; otherwise I could round up 100,000 friends and demand that
you send each of them a copy of any Open Source code you happen to have.

You know, you haven't stopped talking           John Cowan
since I came here. You must have been 
vaccinated with a phonograph needle.  
        --Rufus T. Firefly