Subject: Re: Open Source and Contributor Agreements
From: Alex Bligh <>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 12:58:52 +0000

--On 26 November 2005 20:44 -0800 David Barrett <> 

> Third, regarding them being pernicious, I hope you agree it's quite a
> stretch between spam (that arrives in your inbox against your will and
> demands that you take action to stop being targeted) and an opt-out
> provision (that you only deal with if you explicitly choose to
> redistribute code that you got from me).

The "perniciousness" (if that's a word) I was referring to was re the
argument, not the (proposed) license per se - i.e. the justification of
things that would otherwise be unacceptable by allowing people to avoid
them only be taking positive action (see opt-out mailing lists / CAN-SPAM
etc.). The argument that this works is "but opting out is so easy, just do
XYZ'. And the fallacy here is that it is quite clearly a non-trivial amount
of effort, or there would be no advantage to the issuer in doing it. I see
why you want it, but I prefer being up front and either demanding it
compulsorily (which I think we've established is open-source incompatible)
or asking people to opt-in. Partly because telying on inertia and people's
laziness doesn't sound a great plan, partly because it seems to me the most
attractive reason for rejecting the OVPL (assuming one believes the
rejection is right) is on a matter of principle (i.e. no asymmetry
permitted, not that it 'went just too far' - though I know some people see
it in the latter light), in which case opt-out license-back should fall too.

I also have to say opt-out license-back doesn't deliver the developer the
certainty they need anyway. I can just imagine the "I did ask to opt-out
2 years ago but you claim my email never arrived" arguments.