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From Aristedes Maniatis <...@ish.com.au>
Subject Re: Licensing pertaining to what's in SVN vs. what's in distributions
Date Mon, 20 Apr 2009 03:11:49 GMT

On 19/04/2009, at 1:13 PM, Santiago Gala wrote:

> My personal guess is that what is relevant here is to know if the  
> legal
> concept of "publishing" depends not just on the fact of making  
> documents
> available or there needs to be some sort of "intent" to publish

Legally, intent is not important. Just ask the defendants/victims of  
the RIAA's lawsuits in the USA. Their state of mind is not relevant.  
I'm guessing a large number of people using bitTorrent aren't aware  
that they are publishing anything.

But it is important to recognise that this conversation doesn't appear  
to be about legal issues. Rather it is about something else: how  
Apache wishes to be perceived by the general public. We have seen one  
project pull demos out of trunk of their repository, so their  
interpretation seems to be:

1. non-Apache licensed things in official distributions: BAD.
2. non-Apache licensed things in trunk of svn: BAD
3. non-Apache licensed things in branches of svn: OK
4. non-Apache licensed things in history of svn: OK

Everyone agrees about (1): the others need clear guidance so that PMCs  
can behave consistently.

The second issue is what constitutes a 'non-Apache licensed thing'. Is  
it:

a. The legal definition (that is, something which isn't wholly Apache  
licensed)
b. Some fuzzy definition which means that (for example) Photoshop  
files are OK if the content they represent is appropriately licensed,  
even if the actual file checked into svn is not legally compatible  
with the Apache license.
c. Some more relaxed definition which allows for Apache incompatible  
dependencies when they are in non-core elements such as demos, source  
materials or examples. A video presentation demo could be created in  
Flash and therefore 'closed source'. A demo could be useful even if it  
GPL or for that matter completely closed source. The test here is  
whether the 'thing' is part of the 'distribution' which people  
recognise as the httpd web server, or Cayenne ORM library, etc.


I'm not an Apache member and don't get a vote, but I think the above  
points should be officially clarified. If I were to give my opinion it  
would be that everything in svn is merely 'working materials' designed  
to be as useful as possible to produce the real products of Apache.  
That means it should not matter whether Apache licensed material is  
produced on computers running Windows, and demoed with a video  
presentation created with Flash and checked into svn, or web site  
content muddied with proprietary Atlassian Confluence markup tags. I  
don't think every tool and demo needs to be Apache licensed for the  
'real' output to reflect the values of this community.

Ari Maniatis



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