[Namaste-dev] Re: Weekly Plan June 2 - June 6
bruce at perens.com
Thu Jun 5 08:01:56 PDT 2008
> What do you all think of using Creative Commons licensing for the engineering effort?
Those licenses are good for documentation and media. But not intended
for use with software and schematics. John Ackermann, AMSAT and TAPR's
voluntary legal counsel on these matters, has put a lot of thought into
the OHL for hardware use. I would suggest an OSI-accepted Open Source
license for software and OHL for hardware designs. And of the more than
70 OSI-accepted licenses there are about 4 I would recommend. The main
concern there is that they are enforcible, that they give maximal legal
protection to the developer, that they are well-accepted in the Open
Source community, and that if possible there is experience with them
actually being considered in a published court finding.
We have a really bad story of a model-train software developer whose
software was used in a commercial model train throttle, and then the
manufacturer of the throttle brought a patent suit against the Open
Source developer to dissuade him from distributing his own software
without the commercial product, The software is called JMRI, for Java
Model Railroad Interface. His license was supposed to protect him and
didn't hold up in court. So, we need to choose the licenses carefully
and consult with Ackermann on this.
> Bruce, does your dual-license system extend to multisource engineering efforts like this?
It works best when copyright assignment is part of the system. In this
case AMSAT could be the copyright holder. One copyright holder makes
decisions easier, and if you have to go to court the judge takes your
standing more seriously if you own the whole copyright. In my case the
copyright is assigned to my own company, and I make a covenant to the
contributors of modifications to release continuing development that
includes their modifications as Open Source for the subsequent year.
> Would you be willing to share a copy of your license with us so we can learn more about what a working dual license system looks like?
I am using the Affero GPL 3.
It addresses the specific problem of software as a service performed
over the web rather than software that is always distributed to the
customer. There are different license choices according to the
circumstances, that's not the license I would recommend for this.
The commercial license is negotiable with the purchaser. The important
part about it is that it doesn't have any of the "reciprocal" or
"share-and-share-alike" elements that would require release of the
customer's own copyrighted work under the same license.
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