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

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Mon, 04 Apr 2011 09:10:46 -0400
Message-ID: <4D99C356.2090200@intertwingly.net>
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
CC: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org>, "licensing@mozilla.org" <licensing@mozilla.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
On 04/04/2011 02:57 AM, Jonas Sicking wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 2:56 PM, Sam Ruby<rubys@intertwingly.net>  wrote:
>> On 04/03/2011 05:21 PM, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>> On Apr 3, 2011, at 9:58 AM, Dailey, David P. wrote:
>>>> Gervase Markham writes (for Mozilla):
>>>> "Our opinion is that Option 3 does not satisfy requirement A),
>>>> because it contains field-of-use restrictions."
>>>> Requirement A is "A) The license must meet the Open Source
>>>> Definition and the Free Software Definition."
>>>> Out of curiosity, I looked at Option 3 [1] , the Open Source
>>>> Definition [2] and the Free Software Definition [3], and didn't
>>>> quite see how Option 3 had field-of-use restrictions. I may be
>>>> missing it in the Free Software Definition but I'm not sure what
>>>> parts it might be covered under, while field of use restrictions in
>>>> the Open Source Definition seem to be defined by clause (6) of that
>>>> document:
>>>> "6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor The license must
>>>> not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific
>>>> field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program
>>>> from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic
>>>> research."
>>>> I'm just not seeing what field of endeavor Option 3 would
>>>> discriminate against.
>>>> I'm not saying this is wrong, but rather am just asking for
>>>> clarification. If someone is going to reconcile some rather
>>>> divergent perspectives on the licensure issue, understanding what
>>>> those perspectives are would seem to be in order, though I
>>>> recognize that this may seem a tad idealistic to some.
>>> 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
>> Speaking as the V.P. of Legal Affairs at the Apache Software Foundation, the
>> ASF would be fine with projects at the ASF incorporating materials made
>> available under this license into their codebases.
>> Again, speaking with my ASF hat on and my W3C co-chair hat off, I would very
>> much rather we be talking about Mozilla's point (c).
> Can you clarify what you mean by "incorporating" here? Note that Gerv
> listed some specific ways that Mozilla wants to use the text in the
> specification in requirement "B". These requirements might not be the
> same requirements that ASF has.

Note: I have a number of 'hats' to wear in this discussion.  I will 
attempt to identify each as I use them in the paragraphs below.

As the VP Legal Affairs for the ASF, I am not aware of any present need 
by the ASF that is not satisfied by the existing document license.

I will state that it troubles me that if we were to do so that people 
may find the resulting code, made available under the Apache License, 
Version 2 to be incompatible with MPL 2 or GPL 3, licenses that we have 
worked very hard together to make compatible.  The cited reasons seem to 
revolve around the lack of statements, statements that are also lacking 
in the X11 and MIT licenses.  Licenses that are widely viewed as compatible.

It is my strong preference as a member of this WG that we deemphasize 
this point.  We don't have agreement.  Some disagree with the very 
author of the GPL itself.  It isn't our strongest point.

But, as co-chair of this WG, I will say that if WG members wish to 
pursue it, I encourage them to cite technical arguments and propose 
changes that would remove the objection; and I would further discourage 
members from making proposals that are vague or incomplete.

> But I agree that point "C" might be more interesting to discuss since
> it seems like most people agree that none of the options satisfy that
> requirement.

I'll go further.  As the W3C Advisory Council Representative for the 
ASF, I personally am inclined to strongly support the statement made in 
point "C" by the Mozilla Foundation.  I haven't yet had detailed 
discussions with Larry, but from the discussion that we have had to date 
it is my impression that he substantially agrees.  I need to follow up 
with others at the ASF, and fully intend to do so.  Given that our 
license policy allows liberal use, has no provisions requiring "giving 
back", allows incorporation of our code in competitive Free or even 
proprietary code, I expect that others will agree.

What we (the ASF) do require is people who do so make it clear that they 
have modified the Work.  Separate from our Copyright License policy, we 
do actively pursue statements by others that have the effect of leading 
others to believe that the ASF endorses their work.

As an employee of IBM, I participated in the formulation and review of 
IBM's input to the February/March "htmllicense2010" AC survey.  Those 
with member access can see that input.

The closest I have seen to an option that reflects my personal values is 


Finally, speaking as a co-chair of this WG, my expectation is that given 
a range of options, the W3C will pick the option that draws the weakest 
objections.  The link I cited above does not (yet) meet the criteria of 
a a concrete proposal.  To start with, it merely cites a "good place to 
start".  And it further fails to evaluate the incomplete proposal 
against the use cases that this group presented.

> / Jonas

- Sam Ruby
Received on Monday, 4 April 2011 13:11:42 UTC

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