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From Marvin Humphrey <mar...@rectangular.com>
Subject Re: Simplfying requirements for LICENSE and NOTICE
Date Wed, 10 Feb 2016 20:32:04 GMT
On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 9:00 AM, William A Rowe Jr <wrowe@rowe-clan.net> wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 9:01 AM, Marvin Humphrey <marvin@rectangular.com>
> wrote:
>> On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 4:08 AM, Jim Jagielski <jim@jagunet.com> wrote:
>> > In other words, we don't do enough to explain what LICENSE
>> > and NOTICE are for
>> I still don't understand why "bubbling up" notifications into NOTICE is
>> *legally* required for a source distro. The sole argument I've seen
>> mentions the "attribution clause (if any)" of a BSD license.  But what
>> clause is that?  Nobody seems to call it that.
> Everyone calls it that...
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_licenses#4-clause_license_.28original_.22BSD_License.22.29

Bill, I'm grateful to you for taking the time to reply. And it does not
diminish my gratitude but...

Even the article that you just cited calls that clause from BSD-4 the
"advertising clause" and not an "attribution clause"!

    The original BSD license contained a clause not found in later licenses,
    known as the "advertising clause".

BSD-4 is obsolete.  It's not OSI-approved, nor is it on Apache's list of
approved licenses.  Only BSD-2 and BSD-3 are approved:


    * BSD (without advertising clause). Including variants:
        * BSD 2-clause
        * BSD 3-clause

However, I did a bunch of mail archive spelunking this morning for "roy
fielding subsume" and I think I've got a better handle on what Roy was getting
at.  I've collected some seemingly relevant license passages for "category A"
licenses below[1][2][3][4].

If I understand correctly, the idea is that if we claim "This source tarball
for Apache Foo is available under the Apache License 2.0" and the tarball
bundles materials where one of those passages is in effect, we also have to
propagate any notices referenced by the passage into NOTICE.

> This is actually the more important clause in terms of our NOTICE file,
> however...
>   2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
>      notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
>      documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
> Every binary build, including any binary build from the ASF, is required
> to provide the copyright notice and the full license (list of conditions),
> which is why both LICENSE and NOTICE are critical.

My question was about source distros, to which that clause does not apply.

For binary builds, the full copyright+license combination needs to be
reproduced.  That could be done in LICENSE for certain formats, for example
within META-INF directory of a jar file.  It could also be done in the

However, by my reading that clause does not mandate adding anything to e.g.
META-INF/NOTICE specifically when the full copyright+license combo is already
reproduced elsewhere.

> Wherever we import/merge sources under other licenses, we have
> assumed the responsibility of doing so for our users.  If the user
> cannot comply with the copyright and licensing terms when compiling
> our source code tarball by simply referring to our LICENSE and NOTICE
> files, we've failed to correctly deliver a complete open source work.

I'd quibble with your last sentence.  Nevertheless, I think you make a
reasonable argument for why we should undertake the effort to aggregate
licensing, regardless of whether we are legally compelled to do so.


Marvin Humphrey

[1] http://apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-1.1

    3. The end-user documentation included with the redistribution,
       if any, must include the following acknowledgment:
          "This product includes software developed by the
           Apache Software Foundation (http://www.apache.org/)."
       Alternately, this acknowledgment may appear in the software itself,
       if and wherever such third-party acknowledgments normally appear.

[2] http://www.php.net/license/3_01.txt

    6. Redistributions of any form whatsoever must retain the following
       "This product includes PHP software, freely available from

[3] https://opensource.org/licenses/afl-3.0.php

    6) Attribution Rights. You must retain, in the Source Code of any
       Derivative Works that You create, all copyright, patent, or trademark
       notices from the Source Code of the Original Work, as well as any
       notices of licensing and any descriptive text identified therein as an
       "Attribution Notice." [...]

[4] https://opensource.org/licenses/ms-pl.html

    3. Conditions and Limitations
        (C) If you distribute any portion of the software, you must retain all
            copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices that are
            present in the software.

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