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Re: Option 3

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 07:26:50 -0400
Message-ID: <4D88877A.1000804@intertwingly.net>
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
CC: Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>, public-html@w3.org, PSIG <member-psig@w3.org>
On 03/22/2011 04:26 AM, Jonas Sicking wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 4:28 PM, Lawrence Rosen<lrosen@rosenlaw.com>  wrote:
>>> Secondly, this license does not appear to be GPL-compatible, because it
>>> applies additional constraints (e.g. it does not allow the content to
>>> be merged into a non-software product).
>>
>> [LR: ] That is not accurate. What a license allows is not the opposite of
>> what it prohibits; this license only affirmatively allows what it allows and
>> says nothing whatsoever about the right to do other things. Option 3 does
>> not prohibit anyone from merging the content of the spec into a non-software
>> product; it simply doesn't authorize it. All of our licenses are based on
>> affirmative but limited and conditional grants, not limitless grants. If you
>> examine the patent grants in almost all FOSS licenses, for example, you will
>> note that they do not *allow* the content to be merged into lots of things.
>> That's how open source has always worked.
>>
>> As for the mandates of the GPL, the only thing that the GPL prohibits is
>> "further restrictions" [1] and Option 3 has no such. There are no
>> limitations or restrictions that would have to be passed on to downstream
>> licensees.
>
> So does Option 3 allow me to take some text which appears in a
> document covered by the Option 3, and paste just that text into a GPL
> licensed document? I.e. without also copying any copyright notices or
> references to either Option 3 or to the original Option 3 licensed
> document?
>
> If the answer is "yes", then I agree that it appears to be compatible with GPL.
>
> If the answer is "no", then it does not appear that it is.

By that reasoning, the MIT licenses[1] is not compatible with GPL.

The FSF maintains otherwise and have publicly stated so[2].  It is my 
understanding that if this license is approved by the W3C that the FSF 
will take a similar position on this option.  This is based on my 
understanding of the outcome when actual lawyers employed by W3C member 
companies talked to actual lawyers of the FSF who were involved in the 
drafting of the GPL license.

Of course, even if that is done, people can maintain whatever beliefs 
they like on the matter.  They merely damage their own personal 
credibility when they do so.

I encourage you to read more on what compatibility means in this 
context[3][4].

> Best Regards,
> Jonas Sicking
> Mozilla Developer

- Sam Ruby

[1] http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php
[2] 
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#GPLCompatibleLicenses#X11License
[3] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WhatDoesCompatMean
[4] 
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/quick-guide-gplv3.html#clarifying-license-compatibility
Received on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 11:27:46 UTC

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