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From "Roy T. Fielding" <field...@gbiv.com>
Subject Re: Licenses are not always what they seem [was: RE: GPL licensing question ...]
Date Mon, 28 Jul 2008 05:42:26 GMT
On Jul 27, 2008, at 6:53 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 27, 2008 at 7:57 PM, Joe Schaefer  
> <joe_schaefer@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> --- On Sun, 7/27/08, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net> wrote:
>>>> That would be
>>>> equivalent to Microsoft
>>>> donating a bunch of OOXML code and some agreement of
>>>> their choosing without
>>>> doing a software grant or CLA and saying "Sure,
>>>> go ahead.".
>>
>> If "go ahead" means license it under the AL 2.0, and
>> the person saying "go ahead" has sufficient authority,
>> that is perfectly fine with me, no matter what the
>> "agreement of their choosing" is.  This is exactly the
>> situation we had at one point with Harmony, where the
>> CEO of Sun was making very public statements about what
>> Apache was entitled to do with its codebase, where Sun
>> was simultaneously making a different set of demands
>> in private.
>
> Disagree with the above.  If a person with "sufficient authority"
> makes inherently contradictory statements (namely: the license of the
> code is X, and what you are allowed to do is Y, where X != Y), then it
> is not perfectly fine.

That doesn't make any sense.  What Joe said is correct -- permission
granted cannot be retroactively denied, no matter how many contrary
variations on other permissions may be found in the wild.  There is
no limit to the number and variety of nonexclusive licenses that can
be given by the copyright owner, and nobody other than the copyright
owner has any standing in the issue.  In other words, if the owner
says that everyone may copy the code under GPL license and the ASF
may redistribute the same code under the Apache License, that is not
a legal contradiction.

>>> If the amount and nature of the code in question is of the
>>> nature where we would feel comfortable accepting it as a
>>> contribution by virtue of a JIRA checkbox being checked, then I
>>> wouldn't object. Anything more substantial, and like Ralph, I would
>>> definitely object.
>>
>> What would you be objecting to, exactly?  That the normal
>> process for contributions wasn't followed?  And what does
>> that have to do with getting explicit permission for using
>> GPL'd interfaces in an Apache project?
>
> If the person, no matter what their authority, is making assertions
> that are contrary to their license, then I object to taking an email
> or a web page as more authoritative than the license.

A license is just a bunch of words.  The only thing that gives it any
sort of authority over a given bag of bits is the assumption that the
owner made that association.  If the owner makes other associations,
they are just as binding (and far easier to derive authority) than
the bunch of words that happens to be found near the copyrighted work.

....Roy

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