Subject: On the licensing terms of the open source licenses text
From: "Philippe Ombredanne" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004 15:10:29 -0700

 Thu, 8 Jul 2004 15:10:29 -0700
Dear licenses enthusiasts,
I have a question about the licenses of the text of the licenses
Very specifically, I wanted to create our own license, based on the OSL,
but I am taking the OSL here as an example.
And taking the OSL as example gives definitely a recursive feel to the

The OSL and many other licenses have fine prints like that:
> "This license is Copyright (C) 2003-2004 Lawrence E. Rosen. 
> All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to copy and 
> distribute this license without modification. This license may 
> not be modified without the express written permission of its 
> copyright owner."
This obviously restricts the reuse of the license text in other

On the other hand, every web page on has the following
> "Copyright C 2004 by the Open Source Initiative
> The contents of this website are licensed under the 
> Open Software License 2.1 or Academic Free License 2.1"
This could be construed as making the text of the licenses available
under the OSL.

So the questions are: 
How can I reuse the text of a license like the OSL to create a new
Is this licensed under the OSL? 
Or restricted to Larry's terms?

Can I create a new license, for instance the nexB public license, based
on the text of the OSL, or other license text but with every reference
to the OSL removed, except for copyright attributions, creating a
derivative work of the license text?

And if I use an existing OSI approved license as a base, would I need to
go through the full legal commentary to submit it for approval? (BTW, I
know this was debated in the past, but did not find any conclusion on
the topic.


philippe ombredanne | nexB - Open IT Asset Management 
1 650 799 0949 | pombredanne at

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