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From Jeffrey Thompson <jt...@us.ibm.com>
Subject Re: New versions of CC licenses
Date Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:39:19 GMT

Richard Fontana <rfontana@redhat.com> wrote on 12/08/2013 11:05:52 PM:

> On Sun, Dec 08, 2013 at 08:46:52PM -0500, Jeffrey Thompson wrote:
> > Most commercial software licenses prohibit modification and
> >
> > CC-BY requires, as I read the language, that you distribute the
> CC-BY content
> > under terms with authorize modification and redistribution.
> CC BY 4.0 specifically says:
>  You may not offer or impose any additional or different terms or
>  conditions on, or apply any Effective Technological Measures to, the
>  Licensed Material if doing so restricts exercise of the Licensed
>  Rights by any recipient of the Licensed Material.
> And:
>  If You Share Adapted Material You produce, the Adapter's License You
>  apply must not prevent recipients of the Adapted Material from
>  complying with this Public License.
> "Licensed Material" is the original stuff you get under CC BY. The
> definition of "Adapted Material" is:
>   material subject to Copyright and Similar Rights that is derived
>   from or based upon the Licensed Material and in which the Licensed
>   Material is translated, altered, arranged, transformed, or otherwise
>   modified in a manner requiring permission under the Copyright and
>   Similar Rights held by the Licensor.
> Taking all that together... I'm not sure you're right.

Well, I'm not sure I'm right either.  Its a brand new license, hasn't been
interpreted by a court, and I haven't seen guidance on that point from
CC-BY.  If what they mean, and if what comes to be the general
interpretation, is that restrictions between B and C are OK because C
always has the direct grant available from A, then that'll resolve my
question.  However, I don't think we can assume that interpretation.  Maybe
a simple request for clarification from the CC-BY authors would help.

> Suppose your commercially-licensed product is delivered in source code
> form, and it includes a copyrightable ASF project Apache License 2.0
> source file that is textually identical to the upstream
> ASF-distributed source file. It includes the typical ASF project
> header. I am not clear on whether you are contending that this
> identical downstream *copy* cannot be modified or redistributed
> because your commercial license says that modification and
> redistribution are prohibited. Is this *copy* tainted, such that I
> have to go to apache.org to get a digitally identical copy of the same
> file (or to make it more interesting, a copy that is different only in
> some trivial way with no copyright significance)? If your view is that
> I can exercise ALv2 rights in that file without going to apache.org,
> then I think you are saying that ALv2 and CC BY 4.0 are largely
> similar.

I'm not saying that any copy is tainted, or that C has to go get another
download of the AL2.0 software.  I brought up the issue of whether or not B
has to change its license terms, that's it.

> Here we ought to recognize the reality that CC BY is typically not
> applied to software, even when it covers things included in
> largely-software works. CC BY is more likely to be applied to image
> files or formal documentation (and formal documentation under a CC
> license isn't typically bundled with upstream software releases). This
> is stuff that has a separable quality to it that I'd agree might not
> be so obviously true if we were talking about a bunch of source code
> files.

But, if CC-BY material is bundled with software (say, images), then we
still have the problem.  But I take your point.  Unfortunately, in my
travels, I've seen too many CC-BY licensed software projects.

> In the typical case, if the commercial licensor is so concerned about
> the prospect of CC BY material it can easily identify and remove it at
> low cost before product shipment. Get rid of the upstream
> documentation, replace the images. I believe Larry has made a point
> similar to this.

Right.  And, as I understood Category A, it was intended to be the
collection of licenses for which the recipient wouldn't have to worry about
that.  Category B was for licenses where the recipient needed to take some

Counsel, IBM Software Group
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