Subject: Re: OVPL summary
From: Mitchell Baker <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 11:43:42 -0700

I would appreciate it if I could get a precise statement of what additional rights the Initial Developer gets in the MPL.  I know there was a lot of discussion about having Section 2.1 and 2.2, but I couldn't understand the extra rights that the Initial Developer is supposed to get. 

I understand that Netscape got special rights under the Netscape Public License, but still do not understand this discusison with relation to the Mozilla Public License. 


Lawrence Rosen wrote:
Mark Radcliffe wrote:
I agree that such differences in rights is not discrimination 
under the OSD. Many of the existing licenses are not 
perfectly recipricol. 

As Mark correctly says, many OSI-approved licenses, including the venerable
MPL and CPL licenses, are not perfectly reciprocal. They grant (or reserve)
some rights to an initial developer that other licensees don't have. If we
say that such licenses violate the OSD, we'd be forced to deprecate many
ancient and respected licenses. The OVPL goes farther than the others--and
some may want to amend the OSD to prevent this extreme--but under today's
OSD, I've told others privately, the OVPL should be approved. 

I've also told people privately that I don't like such special privileges in
open source licenses. I prefer equal reciprocity. Equal reciprocity was a
basic principle in drafting OSL 3.0, and its section 1(c) reciprocity
provision applies the exact same license terms to the original licensor and
any downstream distributors. That was on purpose.

Open source contributors may be reluctant to contribute to an OVPL project
owned by others. Many copyright owners of contributions either want to be
treated equally, or will negotiate special partnership arangements with
their up-stream licensors for consideration. I don't think they will
appreciate special rights built into the project's license. But that's a
marketing and public relations risk that OVPL licensors will be taking, not
an OSD compliance issue.

Unless the OSD is properly amended.

/Larry Rosen

-----Original Message-----
From: Radcliffe, Mark [] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 9:47 AM
To: Chuck Swiger; Brian C
Subject: RE: OVPL summary

I agree that such differences in rights is not discrimination 
under the OSD. Many of the existing licenses are not 
perfectly recipricol. 
I would phrase it somewhat differently since droit de 
l'auteur is a right only in certain countries. As the 
copyright owner (generally the case), the initial developer 
has a complete set of rights only some of which are licensed 
under the license. The most practical effect of these rights 
is mentioned by Chuck, to license the work under a different 
license. On the other hand, all licensees will receive only 
the rights from the initial developer and other contributors 
under the license, so their rights by their very nature are 
more limited. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Swiger [] Sent: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 4:54 AM
To: Brian C
Subject: Re: OVPL summary

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

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.

So long as people can continue to modify and redistribute the 
software openly, asking people who want to make proprietary 
modifications to grant the original developer the right to 
reuse and redistribute such modifications for themselves is 
OK.  However, part of granting full Open Source rights to 
everyone means that the software has to be feasible for 
others to redistribute, even if the original developer 
disagrees or no longer exists.

-- -Chuck


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