October 2019 License-Review Summary

We would like to introduce (and thank!) Amol Meshram, who has joined us here at the OSI to provide monthly summaries of both the License-Discuss and License-Review mailing lists. We hope these reports provide you with a helpful snapshot of the monthly activities on the lists, keeping you up to date with the latest topics, while also providing a reference point for further discussion. Of course all suggestions are welcome as we continue to enhance our reporting. We will try our best to include the feedback from OSI community members to make the summaries as accurate as possible and the discussions lively and fruitful.

In Oct 2019, License-Review mailing list members discussed below mentioned topics;

  1. For Legacy Approval: OpenLDAP Public
    Jilayne pointed out that there are many versions of the OpenLDAP license available on spdx.org. So, Jilayne wanted to know from OSI committee which OpenLDAP version it is approving for the purpose of open source licensing. To this Pamela Chestek on behalf of OSI confirmed that OSI approved the OpenLDAP Public License Version 2.8, 17 August 2003″ which is identical to what SPDX has as OLDAP-2.8
  2. Coherent Open Source: Getting underway next Friday
    Nothing much discussed so did not write summary of this topic.
  3. The Vaccine License:
    Filli Liberandum submitted The Vaccine License for approval to Open Source Initiative.
    Florian Weimer after going through The Vaccine License document found that “Complying person” clause does not list any ‘medical’ contraindications for waiver eligibility. So, Florian Weimer wanted to know whether this exclusion is done deliberately or not? Filli Liberandum was surprised by the interpretations of Florian Weimer and suggested to read it as “which are appropriate for the patient’s medical condition” and asked whether this interpretation is addressed the query or not?

    Carlo Piana is not in favour of The Vaccine License and feels it is a trolling exercise. Filli Liberandum suggested to Carlo Paina to read the mailing list code of conduct. In furtherance to it, Filli Liberandum explained why there is a necessity of acknowledging The Vaccine License by OSI board and its members.
    Anand Chowdhary based on his experience of adding privacy compliance under twente open source license pointed out that there are better ways to protect privacy of individuals like local/national/international regulation instead of protecting it through open source license. He is of the opinion that there are better ways to advocate for vaccination and open source license is not the better way to advocate for it.
    Filli Liberandum countered to Anand Chowdhary by citing example of Cryptography Autonomy License of Mr. Lindstrom which ask for some release of data as a condition and head of OSI has publicly accepted this condition. Pamela Chestek brought into notice of Filli Liberandum that OSI did not endorse the view of Simon Phipps (referred head of OSI by Filli) on Cryptography Autonomy License data condition clause. Simon Phipps is member of the board along with others. Simon Phipps views on CAL are personal.
    Filli Liberandum raised a concern with respect to archives as it is  stuck in a plaintext mode.
    Simon Phipps suggested to Filli Liberandum to familiarize with License-review process and change the tone of message and requested to leave moderating to the moderators to which Filli agreed and responded that here onwards Filli will directly reach out to concerned members.
    Gil Yehuda responded to Fil that Licenses usually do ask for things in return and appreciated the efforts of Fil in writing The Vaccine License, while considering the OSD. Gil raised an important point of enforceability of The Vaccine License in the real life scenario. Gil is of the opinion that one can right a blog and promote the importance of the idea instead of restricting it with copyright license. To buttress claim, Gil cited article written by Selam G which convinced Gil to support Free Software Movement. The reason behind citing this article is to explore other platforms instead of publishing work under copyright license.

    Carlo Piana responded to Fil that The Vaccine License is discriminatory and non-enforceable in nature. Carlo thinks that vaccination can be achieved through local authorities instead of enforcing it through copyright license. Carlo believes one should provoke reactions rather than genuine attempt of having a license approved.
    Josh Berkus agrees with Carlo on provoking reactions from members on license instead of attempting for approving the license. Josh suggested to take this submission as a use case and put it on opensource.org for future reference.
    Carlo Piana is of the same view that opensource.org should take this submission as a use case for future submissions to avoid duplication of work.
    Bruce Perens is also of the opinion that a direct law on vaccination will be more effective than a license. Similarly, Bruce also wrote two blog posts on the issue of “ethical” licenses wherein Bruce referred the proposed The Vaccine License.
    Grahame Grieve replied to Bruce’s blog post and appreciated the efforts of writing blog post on ethical license and also the basic arguments put forwards by Bruce. But Grahame bothered by the lack of ethics in the Vaccine License, judging vaccine license solely based on enforceability clause. Similarly, Grahame wanted to know whether the lawyers, courts and violators laugh at license and is there any precedent on when someone gives something of value away, on the condition that it not used in a particular way? Bruce Perens replied to all the queries of Graham Grieve. Firstly, Bruce Perens claims blog post argument is based on law instead of license terms. Secondly, Bruce has experience in handling litigation for various reasons and Bruce wants other should not get into litigation for same cause of action. Lastly, Bruce said Lawyers, courts and violators laugh at license and this whole exercise will be term as a ‘‘copyright misuse’’.  
    Kevin P. Fleming replied to Graham and pointed that The Vaccine License does not talk about goals instead it focusses on action to be performed which is not in sync with the use of the software. Similarly, Kevin is of the opinion that The Vaccine License violates the OSD 5. To this Grahame Grieve countered by saying if The Vaccine license is applied to health software then in such scenario would Kevin change his opinion.
    Van Lindberg appreciated various aspect of the Vaccine License and efforts put forward by Fil in creating the vaccine license. But Van feels the Vaccine License does not qualify for OSS because it imposes conditions which are logically separate from and wholly unrelated to scope intellectual property rights that are licensed. Similarly, Van attempted to answer the question on what scope of action can be required of a license? Van observed if restrictions are closely related to the exercise of the intellectual property rights granted under license then such restrictions make sense and compatible with OSD.
    Filli Liberandum replied to analysis of Van and requested to reverse engineer the rules from the approved licenses which Fil believe will lead us to conclusion that the Vaccine License attempt is not an accidental in nature.
    Josh Berkus feels that The Vaccine License is very good example for ‘’unrelated conditions’’ license which can be referred in future as a textbook example to differentiate between what kind of licenses OSS supports and what can’t be supported by OSS license.

  4. Resubmission of the European Space Agency Public Licenses (ESA-PL) for approval:
    Pamela Chestek apologised for not acting on ESA Public Licenses and confirmed that separates threads have been three licenses. Filli Liberandum shared the link of three different threads with members for discussion.
  5. ESA Permissive PL 2.3:
    Pamela Chested replied to old thread dated May 6, 2018 on ESA Permissive PL 2.3 wherein Carsten Gerlach suggested a notice text in the license FAQ instead of amending the language of the license. Pamela thinks this position is in contravention to US law which says where the licensor is not the ESA, any statements made by the ESA would be irrelevant.
  6. ESA-PL Weak 2.3:
    Pamera Chestek has below mentioned queries with respect to Section 3.1 of the Weak 2.3 license.
    1. Can a licensor choose what license will be used for their distribution?
    2. If one receives code under the ESA-PL Weak Copyleft license, can we sublicense it under the GPLv3?
    3. How will the term ‘’extension’’ will be interpreted in as per wording mentioned in Section 3.2.1 of the Weak and Strong license?
    4. What will happen if separate work in integrated to form a larger program, but it’s not in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, does that mean the license does not apply.
    Bruce Perens finds there is a problem with text mentioned in ESA-PL Weak License which is more harmful to ESA itself.