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From "Roy T. Fielding" <field...@gbiv.com>
Subject Re: Validity of APL in Europe ?
Date Tue, 12 Jul 2005 09:56:37 GMT
On Jul 12, 2005, at 12:13 AM, Paul Libbrecht wrote:

> living and working currently in Germany, an answer to most open-source 
> licenses I have seen thus far is that "it's not valid in germany". I 
> know many say it's the case for the GPL or BSD licenses but I'd like 
> to hear more about this:
> - was there anyone hearing about a trial in Europe with an Apache 
> license involved ?

None that we know of.  The Apache License is designed to avoid
litigation of any sort.

> - was the APL 2.0 designed in such a way that it would apply to, say, 
> France or Germany. Such statements as the guarantee-exclusion "in the 
> limits of applicable law" do help it...

Yes, but there is no way to know for sure.  The combination of
the "applicable law" exclusion and the ability of third parties
to offer their own guarantees where necessary should be sufficient.
The main issue for other licenses, IIRC, was that the disclaimers
were not valid in Germany if the software is sold as part of a
package.  Since we provide a mechanism whereby German companies
can take on such liability without violating our license, I think
it will survive such a legal test.

Please note, however, that such questions of "validity" have no
effect on the Apache license.  Our software is covered by copyright
law by default, so if the license were to be considered invalid
then the recipient would have no license, and thus would simply
have to trust that we aren't going to sue them for infringement,
which itself would be a meaningless act since we don't have any
revenue lost as a result of other people copying our work.

So, the short answer is that, although we have designed the
license such that it should be applicable in Europe, the past
questions of validity are only of concern to groups that actively
enforce their copyright restrictions on unwilling redistributors
(e.g., the FSF's use of the GPL to control the licensing of
derivative works).  In contrast, we just want to avoid litigation.


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