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From Jeffrey Thompson <jt...@us.ibm.com>
Subject RE: New versions of CC licenses
Date Mon, 09 Dec 2013 03:24:14 GMT


"Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com> wrote on 12/08/2013 09:25:13 PM:

> Jeff Thomson wrote:
> > Most commercial software licenses prohibit
> > modification and redistribution.

> But they can't prohibit the modification and redistribution of the
> FOSS bits within it.

If what you mean is that the commercial software vendor wouldn't be able to
enforce the prohibition by a copyright suit, yes, I agree 100%.  B isn't
the owner of the copyright and absent an exclusive license to that code,
can't enforce any of the exclusive rights.  Only A can effectively assert
copyright to that code.

> And they must disclose the presence of the FOSS
> bits and inform customers of its licenses.

Yep.

> Other than that, you can refuse to support or service modified
> software, and you can refuse to accept responsibility for
> redistributed software, and you can refuse to allow the
> redistribution of your private bits. Nobody is preventing you from
> reaching reasonable commercial terms with your customers.

Yep.

>
> > Does it seem to you that we are going around in circles?

> Yes. Please stop rotating....

:-)

So, are we done, at least as far as the practical results of AL2.0 goes?
If A licenses code to B under AL2.0, it seems like you agree that B can
license a combined work to C under a proprietary license that includes, for
example, a general prohibition on modification.  I think we also agree
that, at least as to A's code, if C goes ahead and modifies it, B can't sue
under the copyright act to stop it because only A can do that.  As you
point out, there may be other repercussions on the relationship between B &
C.

The problem that I had from the beginning though, is that I don't think we
can have the same progression with CC-BY material since CC-BY says that you
can't include any terms that purport to prevent the exercise of any of the
CC-BY rights (e.g., modification).  So, B can't license the combined work
to C under a proprietary license that includes a general prohibition on
modification.

So, I'm back to the original problem.  If an Apache project includes CC-BY
material, the consumer of that code has to treat it specially.  Either it
has to remove the CC-BY material or it has to change its commercial license
terms.

Jeff
Counsel, IBM Software Group
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