Subject: Re: advertising clauses
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 3 Sep 1999 13:59:32 -0400

   Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1999 10:35:55 -0700 (PDT)
   From: Brian Behlendorf <>

   The GPL essentially contains an advertising clause - itself.  The GPL must
   be redistributed with derivative code.  Stallman himself says it is very
   important for people to know, when they receive GNU software, that their
   interests are protected by the GPL, and to be aware of the broader
   philosophical context which provides them with that code.  Among the most
   important reasons to do this, I feel, is to discourage forks.  

I'm sure you can see that this is very different from the BSD
advertising clause.  The BSD clause refers to ``all advertising
materials mentioning features or use of this software.''  The GPL has
no similar requirement.  It only requires that you not remove any
existing references to the GPL, that you provide a copy of the GPL
along with the program, and that an interactive program which prints
an announcement must mention the GPL.  There is nothing there which
constrains your behaviour in areas unrelated to the program itself;
there are no constraints on advertising or on documentation.

   What really should happen to such a clause is a clarification -
   "advertising" is certainly quite broad, and it's a valid legal question
   whether a TV ad or a web ad banner would have to include it.  I think such
   a clause needs to be clarified; one way to clarify it might be to state
   that such a notice only needs to appear "in end-user documentation, and/or
   wherever such third-party notices normally appear".  I.e., when Netscape
   starts up, it shows a screenful of notices about other software it
   incorporates.  However, server-side software generally has no such
   splash-screen, so "in the documentation" would probably have to suffice.

I wouldn't call that a clarification, I would call it a completely
different requirement.  After all, you've dropped all reference to
advertising.  However, I do think it's a perfectly reasonable
requirement.  It's more or less similar to the GPL requirement, with
the addition of requiring that the attribution appear in end-user