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From Cliff Schmidt <cli...@apache.org>
Subject Re: BSD-styled licenses
Date Mon, 14 Nov 2005 05:42:15 GMT
On 11/13/05, Niclas Hedhman <niclas@hedhman.org> wrote:
 > On Monday 14 November 2005 00:36, Henri Yandell wrote:
 > > Afaik, MIT can be treated as a BSD-like licence. It can be  
 > > distributed, stored in SVN.
 > I actually find this rather interesting.
 > Use-case;
 >  1. I create a software patent SP.
 >  2. I create an open source project OP, which uses patent SP.
 >  3. I license SP under BSD/MIT styled license.
 >  4. I (or someone else) makes a strong dependency on top of SP
 >     into an Apache project AP.
 >  5. User U now entrust AP, and build that into a commercial app
 >     CA.
 >  6. I find out that CA is using SP, and make patent claims against U.
 > Rationale why this is possible; BSD does not warrant that it is  
free of any
 > patents, the authors own included. Yet, ASF has been very liberal of
 > accepting BSD/MIT styled licenses almost as peers of the ASL.
 > Anyone want to clarify?

First of all, it should be pointed out that there may be other patent  
owners that claim OP/AP/CA infringes on their patent.  No license  
tells you that the software doesn't infringe anyone's patent.

Regarding the BSD and MIT licenses, they each, to different extents,  
appear to imply a patent license grant through terms like "use" and  
"sell" ("sell" is only mentioned in the MIT license).  I'm not sure  
if there is any case law on implicit patent licenses based on such  
terms, but I think most users/distributors of BSD and MIT-licensed  
software feel that it's a relatively low risk that the author would  
attempt to enforce a patent on something they licensed under these  
licenses...plus, they also realize that even with licenses that give  
an explicit patent grant, that doesn't reduce the risk of some other  
patent owner coming after you.

 > Does it warrant some sort of matrix in ASF, listing which projects  
 > depending on which licenses?

I would like every ASF project to explicitly list all the third-party  
software and the associated licenses in the same-named file in their  
distribution and also linked from their download page.  I don't have  
this formally written up yet, but this is what I think we should do  
and what I encourage individual projects to do when the subject comes  


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