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Re: Option 3

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 09:13:02 -0700
Cc: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>, public-html@w3.org, PSIG <member-psig@w3.org>
Message-id: <A62AD958-59A0-474E-9C1D-FD3867809B54@apple.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>

On Mar 22, 2011, at 4:26 AM, Sam Ruby wrote:

> 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.

For the sake of clarity, the FSF's lawyers have not reviewed this particular license. But they did review a similar license, and found it not to be compatible. It remains to be seen whether the minor change in this one will make a difference.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 16:13:50 UTC

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