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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: Source form Re: What constitutes a source release?
Date Sat, 04 May 2013 01:57:00 GMT
Regardless of the philosophical musings here about Apache policy (which have long confused
me!), copyright law doesn't distinguish between source and object forms unless the license
distinguishes. [1] And even then, it should make no difference to the way that software is
used or distributed under an open source license. Consider, for most legal purposes, that
source and object forms are identical in purpose and effect. 

If you need "source code" to understand the software, demand it from the licensor as the FOSS
license provides. If you need to distribute "object code" for convenience, do so as the FOSS
license provides. Otherwise, who gives a damn whether it is source or object?

/Larry

[1] Copyright law only cares about that distinction when software is protected under the DMCA
by licensors distributing binary code as a confidentiality measure. But this has nothing to
do with FOSS software.


-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis E. Hamilton [mailto:dennis.hamilton@acm.org] 
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2013 5:22 PM
To: legal-discuss@apache.org
Subject: RE: Source form Re: What constitutes a source release?

The determination by the court is what brings compiled fonts (the binary form) under copyright
law by ruling that they are software.  That means open-source licenses apply to them.  (Trademarks
and design patents are also applicable, but not the subject here.)

The licenses all define one way or another what of computer software is source code and what
isn't.  

@Henri, I don't understand the last sentence.  The collision with ASF policy is whether or
not Category B fonts are source code or not, and what that means with respect to having them
in the SVN and in source tarballs for releases.  I assume you don't want them to be source
code because Category B source code is definitely forbidden.  Therefore ... .

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: hyandell@gmail.com [mailto:hyandell@gmail.com] On Behalf Of Henri Yandell
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2013 16:34
To: ASF Legal Discuss; Dennis Hamilton
Subject: Re: Source form Re: What constitutes a source release?


It's definitely an interesting bit of info, though I think the definition of software here
isn't the same as the law courts (ie: the definition on this thread is for the purpose of
our policy rather than our license). 


It feels very odd for us to consider fonts as software given our current projects, but if
we had a project that contained Apache authored fonts (of which there are a bunch, Apache
is, gut guessing, the 4th most common font license) then it would suddenly make a lot more
sense. 

I don't see us ruling out Apache from having font software so fonts are out.

Hen


On Fri, May 3, 2013 at 8:52 AM, Dennis E. Hamilton <dennis.hamilton@acm.org> wrote:


	The font (and the executable) case nagged at me, so I researched the topic a little more.
	
	There is an useful account of the situation with fonts (in the US, specifically):
	<http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=UNESCO_Font_Lic>.
	
	For fonts having open-source licenses, copyright applies to them as software.  Courts have
upheld that font files are software.  (Attaching an open-source license to those is perhaps
more in the manner of an EULA, just as for binary executables.)
	
	In my reading, that does not make either binary executables or font files into source code.
	
	 - Dennis
	
[ ... ]



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