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From Stephen Connolly <stephen.alan.conno...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: New versions of CC licenses
Date Thu, 05 Dec 2013 15:30:54 GMT
On 5 December 2013 15:15, Jeffrey Thompson <jthom@us.ibm.com> wrote:

> Stephen Connolly <stephen.alan.connolly@gmail.com> wrote on 12/05/2013
> 09:52:32 AM:
> > On 5 December 2013 14:43, Jeffrey Thompson <jthom@us.ibm.com> wrote:
> >> Stephen,
> >>     I haven't addressed the DRM restriction.  I'm talking about the
> >> license terms under which the customer receives the combined work.
> >
> > yes and as long as you can maintain your rights on the individual
> > components *as* individual components (i.e. extracted from the
> > combined work) what is the issue if the license terms of the
> > combined work *as a whole* are more restrictive.
> 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.
> CC-BY is not commercially friendly.  It states that the commercial user
> MUST pass on all rights and cannot prohibited modification or distribution
> (at least as to those components).  So, if a commercial entity had
> previously agreed with a customer on a license which generally prohibits
> modification and redistribution (not uncommon), then incorporation of CC-BY
> components in any software that is going to be provided under that
> unmodified pre-existing agreement would violate the CC-BY terms.
> It doesn't matter that the customer is getting MORE rights under the CC-BY
> license.  The rights are different.  To the procurement officer at the
> customer's shop, its more work. S/He has to re-open the agreement,
> negotiate the modification, get legal approval, etc.  Like I said before,
> its a narrow question, but has a big practical impact.  The result is that
> the customer either (a) won't agree to take the new software or (b) the
> transaction will be delayed for weeks/months while a new procurement cycle
> is processed.
> Think of it as the commercial analog of the OSS license proliferation
> problem.  There's nothing illegal or immoral about every OSS project
> writing their own OSS license and insisting that the license carry forward
> through the distribution chain.  But, things aren't very efficient that
> way.  It makes consuming the output of other projects harder and creates
> potential licensing conflicts even though there is no real benefit.
>  Thankfully, most OSS project select established licenses and many choose
> licenses that permit the code to be distributed under other terms (as long
> as the rights passed on are a subset of what is received).
The pre-existing license applies to the collective work, as it is the
collective work that is being distributed.

The collective work can have a different set of license terms than
individual components.

The collective work cannot grant rights to the individual components that
were not granted to the person creating the collective work by the original

The collective work can grant a subset of the rights from the individual
components *provided that* the full rights of granted by the original
author(s) on the individual components to all end users can still be

So what that says is that the rights on the collective work can be less
than or equal to the rights of every individual component *provided* that
the end recipient can access the individual components outside of the
collective work where such access is required to exercise their full set of

Lets suppose there is a psychometric test that is licensed CC-BY.

I might produce a testing manual with instructions on how to score,
administer and interpret the test. The manual may have a restricted license
forbidding photocopying, I might even have technical measures (such as
using a special ink that doesn't photocopy or a low contrast printing
mechanism) to prevent photocopying. For practical reasons it may not be
possible to exclude those technical measures from the copy of the test that
I include in my book... oh and the included parts all have the header and
footer which is my content, so they are modified... I would be in breach of
the CC-BY license *unless* I also included, say a CD-ROM with the test in
PDF form, or an URL to download the PDF of the test, etc... my point is
once I do that I am no longer in breach... or at least to my reading of
CC-BY I am not.

Please educate me if I am wrong as I am interested to understand the


> Jeff
> Counsel, IBM Software Group

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