Subject: Re: Request opinion on proposed license
From: Evan Prodromou <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 13:54:16 -0400
Fri, 30 Jul 2004 13:54:16 -0400
Kevin Halle wrote:

>    Thus, I propose a new license which modifies the GPL.

A new license is generally a bad idea. You should think hard about how to do 
what you want without creating a new license.

> It
> carries the same language, with the one exception that a
> third-party organisation is named which has the power to
> negotiate with commercial entities.   

Having contributors assign copyright to the third-party entity should be 
sufficient to do this. The copyright holder can negotiate other licenses with 
whatever persons or organizations he/she/it chooses.

> This negotiation may allow proprietary, non-open source
> derivative works to be sold by the commercial entity.

> For non-commercial entities, such as researchers and
> individual developers, the license reverts to the standard GPL,

It should be clear that commercial entities can abide by the copyleft rules and 
not have to go through the payment scheme. Otherwise, it's clearly not an 
approvable license, per OSD item #6.

> with the one exception that any derivatives may only use the
> name of the original work upon condition that they pass the
> conformance test suite.

You can do this with trademark -- separate from the copyright license. "Foo 
Certified" is a good way to do it.

>    Distributions of patches is allowed, however, if the work
> compiled with the patches fails the conformance suite or is not
> tested with it, the notice of being derived from the original
> but failing conformance must be included.

This is unsavory. I may use the loop-optimization code from your virtual machine 
for my graphics editor, but still have to put some notice that the graphics 
editor does not meet some unrelated conformance suite.

> The third-party entity charged with negotiating with
> commercial entities must be a non-profit organisation committed
> solely to carrying out the responsibilities of managing work
> assigned to it under the new license.

This should be a no-op. In general, though, you should avoid naming any 
particular entity in the license. Not only does it make the license useless for 
others, but it makes it difficult for other people to comply with the license if 
the entity dissolves or disappears.


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