Subject: Re: OVPL summary
From: Chuck Swiger <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 13:09:14 -0400

Michael Bernstein wrote:
> On Wed, 2005-09-14 at 07:53 -0400, Chuck Swiger wrote:
>>Brian C wrote:
>>> So perhaps the OVPL presents a more specific question to OSI: Is a
>>> license that grants greater rights to an initial developer than it
>>> grants to other licensees consistent with OSI's principles, in
>>> particular, does it constitute "discrimination against persons or groups"?
>> No.  The author of the software generally has significant additional rights on 
>> the original software beyond what a proposed license grants to other people, by 
>> virtue of common law where that applies ("droit d'auteur"), having the right to 
>> release under a different license, etc.
> To my mind, there is a big difference between the ID having additional
> rights to the original work, and the ID having additional rights to all
> derivative works.

Yes, that's a good point to keep in mind.

Are the obligations the OVPL creates towards the ID substantially different 
from other approved licenses?  Do they interfere with one user trying to modify 
or share code with other users besides the ID?  Would they prevent a user from 
forking the codebase?

It seems to me that the obligations to the ID in the OVPL can be satisfied 
simply by publishing the changes or the forked version of the software 
publicly, without requiring any special actions towards the ID in particular 
for that case. [1]

So long as the changes I might make remain publicly available, for anyone to 
use, I don't object if the ID has the right to also create proprietary works 
using my changes.  I don't think the OVPL should become an OSI-recommended or 
top-tier license, but my feel is that it conforms with the OSD.


[1]: My impression is that the OVPL is trying to mandate an assignment of 
copyright for the changes people make to the published work back to the ID, 
which is handled as a seperate matter by organizations such as the FSF for 
GPL'ed software because that assignment ought to be made in writing.

I do *not* think the ID ought to release a proprietary version of the software 
containing significant changes made by someone else without a written 
instrument from that someone.  But this concern does not seem to affect the 
publicly available codebase....