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From Richard Fontana <rfont...@redhat.com>
Subject Re: New versions of CC licenses
Date Thu, 05 Dec 2013 20:53:45 GMT
On Thu, Dec 05, 2013 at 08:49:56AM -0800, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> Jeff Thompson wrote:
> > I'm focused on a very narrow question of great practical import.  Does a
> commercial user have to change their pre-existing licenses in order to
> incorporate the OSS into their product.  If the answer is "yes", then the OSS
> license is not commercially friendly.  If its "no", then it is.  
> And I'm focused on a much broader question of greater strategic import. Does
> Apache have to limit the kinds of contributions it accepts because certain
> commercial customers don't like certain FOSS licenses?

Assuming Jeffrey's interpretation of CC BY and the Apache License 2.0
is correct, the argument seems to be that "commercially friendly"
means "downstream commercial entity never has to adjust its license in
any way no matter what happens". I am not entirely unsympathetic to
this because I know from experience at Red Hat that updating older
global product licenses is a big pain and can be impractical.

Nevertheless if there is some argument that an old commercial license
has become problematic because it didn't account for the possibility
that one day CC BY *icons* might be included in a later version of the
product ... I'm not so sympathetic to that. It's not a fatal flaw -
the customer is going to get a product that will make clear that the
icons are covered by CC BY. The vendor can add a notice in the
directory where the icons appear that CC BY, as to those icons,
supersedes the old product license. There must be many practical
solutions to this issue that will be acceptable to the CC BY licensor
as well as to the vendor. 

Ultimately the problem is that the old license was not drafted well by
not accounting for the possibility that there might be some
third-party component under a license that has to be passed through to
the customer, an extremely common occurrence in commercial
software. Most of the stock commercial software licenses I see these
days have some formulaic clause that refers to this possibility.

- RF

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