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From Matt Benson <gudnabr...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Apache's Third Party Licensing Policy
Date Tue, 29 Oct 2013 16:45:48 GMT
AFAICT, it all seems quite simple:  there exists a committee which handles
legal affairs at the enjoyment of the board.  That committee has a VP which
is the final position answerable to the board and is thus "holding the
bag," in the end.  The VP and/or committee establishes policy as
collectively it sees fit (VP being slightly "more equal than others");
whether or not that policy is officially encoded someplace is the
committee's business.  If the committee chooses not to formally document
its policy, then when the first of many similar decisions is made, then
we'll call that "ad-hoc."  However, consistency in the resolution of
successive similar issues eventually transcends the "ad-hoc" allegation.
 The principles I have seen consistently portrayed with regard to ASF
third-party licensing issues are:

1.  Permit anything which violates neither the law nor the social policies
of the ASF, and
2.  Defer all decisions until the point at which they are demonstrably

IMO I have just reverse-engineered Apache legal policy wrt third-party
licensing such as it has been implemented during my own observation.  :)
 Every time I ever approached Sam with a legal question, the answer was
*always* "let's not deal in hypotheticals."  The consistent application of
this approach does constitute a policy, and anyone who has participated to
any degree in Apache legal business over the past few years has IMO had
ample opportunity to see that.  Further, FWIW, principle #2 should come as
a surprise to no one:  firstly, since the foundation is run by volunteer
energy, we must all be very discriminating in prioritizing our efforts.
 Most of us have lives beyond the ASF or the broader OSS community, as
important as these are.  Secondly, since the focus of the ASF is the
development of software, it seems quite fitting that the similar concept of
"premature optimization" manifests itself even in a non-software-related
aspect of ASF business.


On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:17 AM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>wrote:

> Dear Apache Members,****
> ** **
> Certain board members accuse me of using the board@ list unreasonably to
> argue that board officers are not acting appropriately regarding certain
> legal issues:****
> ** **
> > Larry is abusing his privilege to interact on this list.  I suggest we *
> ***
> > all decline to respond further.****
> ** **
> I will honor their request, but instead I will take this to legal-discuss@(a public list)
and members@(an internal list).
> ****
> ** **
> In particular, I made this request which the Board has refused to respond
> to:****
> I challenge you to find anywhere on our website the written "policy" that
> Sam invoked to delay a decision about this and other third party license
> issues that I raised in LEGAL-179 /and/ several previous JIRA issues.
> "Policy" DOES NOT MEAN "the VP of Legal Affairs decided". You should quit
> inventing policy as you go along.****
> Can anyone else among our members please help us find authority for these
> actions by the VP of Legal Affairs? I've never seen that officer's actual
> role described, certainly not in any way that would provide written
> guidance for the "policy" that he invokes. I'd like to see something
> consistent with our mission statement: "The Foundation provides an
> established framework for intellectual property...."****
> ** **
> By the way, I've changed the topic of this thread. After this brouhaha in
> Apache, W3C is quietly withdrawing its efforts to experiment with CC-BY.
> Their representatives have advised me to give up the fight. :-) Someone
> must have won this battle! But Apache keeps losing, because we still refuse
> all attempts to lead the FOSS world in defining what our Third Party
> Licensing Policy ought to be. Our VP of Legal Affairs insists that the
> "policy" is to sit back and wait until a project asks about a license, then
> approve or disapprove the license based on ad hoc rules but no intelligible
> written principles or guidelines. ****
> ** **
> For those of you who have written me publicly or privately begging me to
> stop bothering you about this topic because you want to get back to
> programming, sorry but no. Next year will mark my 20th year as an attorney
> working in support of FOSS. I assume that my leadership on these issues was
> why I was elected as a member of The Apache Software Foundation in the
> first place. Telling me to shut up about intellectual property issues of
> open source and open standards is like cheating me of oxygen. I won't let
> it happen.****
> ** **
> /Larry****
> ** **
> P.S. I recognize that I won't get many /public/ statements of support for
> this email. But please, those of you who have the courage to do so, please
> write me privately with your comments. Pro or con, it will help me resist
> this plea from board members that I should "shut up" about legal issues.**
> **
> ** **
> Lawrence Rosen****
> Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (www.rosenlaw.com)****
> 3001 King Ranch Rd., Ukiah, CA 95482****
> Office: 707-485-1242****
> Linkedin profile: http://linkd.in/XXpHyu ****
> ** **

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