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Re: [Licensing] Request to evaluate candidate HTML Document license (known as "Option 3")

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sun, 03 Apr 2011 16:02:09 -0700
Cc: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org>, "licensing@mozilla.org" <licensing@mozilla.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <4CDEC63E-C3EC-48A6-88EE-039E23D72F34@apple.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>

On Apr 3, 2011, at 2:56 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:

> On 04/03/2011 05:21 PM, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> I believe Mozilla is interpreting the restriction of Option 3 to
>> software as a field-of-use restriction. Non-software uses, such as
>> documentation that does not accompany software, would be restricted.
>> 
>> On the other hand, Eben Moglen interpreted Option 3 as compatible
>> with the GPL, and therefore free of "other restrictions". This seems
>> potentially in conflict with Mozilla's interpretation, since a
>> "field-of-use restriction" would presumably be an "other
>> restriction".
> 
> I think it is much more likely that Eben Moglen found Option 3 to be compatible with the GPL as is free of the requirement to pass on "other restrictions".  I also encourage everybody to read the definition of "GPL Compatible":
> 
> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WhatDoesCompatMean

Since Prof. Moglen did clarify his reasoning, it's hard for me to know the basis of his opinion. It does seem, on the face of it, to conflict with Mozilla's opinion.

It's not clear to me why the Option 3 license would not pass on the "software, in supporting materials accompanying software, and in documentation of software" limitation. The Option 2 license has an explicit relicensing clause, so it clearly would not pass on the limitations, even though the Option 2 license itself is not even OSD/FSD compliant. But Option 3 does not explicitly allow relicensing of portions excerpted into other works, so it's not obvious to me why the software-only limitation would not be passed downstream. It may be this is so, but it is hard to evaluate without an explanation or even knowing whether anyone is truly making this claim.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Sunday, 3 April 2011 23:02:44 GMT

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