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Open Source License Question

I'd like to formalise slightly the license I release my projects
under. At the moment it's 'free to use, modify, distribute and
relicense'. This is basically fine as I don't want t oprevent people
using my work in commercial settings - but I would like to retain the
right to be identified as the author. I'd also like to prevent people
selling derivative works where my stuff forms the substantial part of
the poduct.

I'd prefer to use an OSI approved license - but it's not essential.
I've been browsing through them and I can't quite see any that
*exactly* fits the bill. Before I draft my own I wondered if anyone
had a reccomendation.

I don't need to require people to make a list of amendments if they
change things. This puts the Python license out. I also don't mind
people relicensing derivative works - a simple thanks in the
documentation and a link to the homepage is my basic requirement.
Regards,

Fuzzy
http://www.voidspace.org.uk/atlantib...thonutils.html
Jul 18 '05 #1
34 2608
Hi,

Michael Foord wrote:
I'd also like to prevent people
selling derivative works where my stuff forms the substantial part of
the poduct.

I'd prefer to use an OSI approved license - but it's not essential.


These two don't go together. Read "6. No Discrimination Against Fields
of Endeavor" in "The Open Source Definition"[0].

J

[0] http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php
Jul 18 '05 #2
Joachim Bowman wrote:
These two don't go together. Read "6. No Discrimination Against Fields
of Endeavor" in "The Open Source Definition"[0]. [0] http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php


Yay, another thread on software licensing.

By the way Fuzzy, just release your software with your own
licensing scheme. If you don't like any of the available OSI
licenses then don't use them, as simple as that.

On one hand "OSI approved" means very little on the other
people do not completely understand these licenses anyway,
the long, recurrent GPL related threads demonstrate that.

Istvan.
Jul 18 '05 #3
Istvan Albert:
By the way Fuzzy, just release your software with your own
licensing scheme. If you don't like any of the available OSI
licenses then don't use them, as simple as that.


Then you receive boring mails about what exactly your license means and
"why don't you change the license to something I know like the GPL"? License
questions must be the most boring part of running an OS project and I would
love to be able to just renounce copyright on my work but it no longer
appears possible.

Neil

Jul 18 '05 #4
Michael Foord wrote:
I'd also like to prevent people
selling derivative works where my stuff forms the substantial part of
the product.


If you can get yourself over this philosophical hump, you're
all set.

Can you see it differently, sort of like "if someone else is
selling something based largely on my work, they've just
identified a nice juicy market which I could get into very
easily"? And as the original author, you might even be
able to steal their customers from them without much effort.

-Peter
Jul 18 '05 #5
Neil Hodgson wrote:
I would
love to be able to just renounce copyright on my work but it no longer
appears possible.


I haven't been trying to keep up to date on this issue, but these
guys seem to feel there is something along those lines that can be done:
http://creativecommons.org/ (Specifically,
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/ )

By how far does that miss your mark?

-Peter
Jul 18 '05 #6
Michael, I have one comment in-line (see below), but other than that I can
only say that I chose GPL for my own project. It may discourage use of my
code for commercial purposes but it might even be pretentious to expect that
something like that would ever happen. On the other hand, I was more
interested in the advantages of open-source and I wanted to enforce that as
much as possible. I did some research of my own at the time (recently,
actually) but I didn't go much into details and I didn't study other
licenses in detail either, but I chose GPL in large part because it is the
most widely used.

I tried to find some of the web pages that I read when I was doing my
research but I couldn't. However, I stumbled upon an article that I didn't
see before and that is very much in line with my thoughts. Here's a link:
http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html.

Hope this helps,

Dan

"Michael Foord" <fu******@gmail .com> wrote in message
news:6f******** *************** ***@posting.goo gle.com...
I'd like to formalise slightly the license I release my projects
under. At the moment it's 'free to use, modify, distribute and
relicense'. This is basically fine as I don't want t oprevent people
using my work in commercial settings - but I would like to retain the
right to be identified as the author. I'd also like to prevent people
selling derivative works where my stuff forms the substantial part of
the poduct.
Michael, I think it's going to be hard to get what you want. I don't see
how you can give a lot of freedom ("I don't want to prevent people using my
work in commercial settings") and, at the same time, achieve something like
"to prevent people selling derivative works where my stuff forms the
substantial part of the poduct". I'm no lawyer, but I don't think you can
define in a license what is a "substantia l part of the product".
I'd prefer to use an OSI approved license - but it's not essential.
I've been browsing through them and I can't quite see any that
*exactly* fits the bill. Before I draft my own I wondered if anyone
had a reccomendation.

I don't need to require people to make a list of amendments if they
change things. This puts the Python license out. I also don't mind
people relicensing derivative works - a simple thanks in the
documentation and a link to the homepage is my basic requirement.
Regards,

Fuzzy
http://www.voidspace.org.uk/atlantib...thonutils.html

Jul 18 '05 #7
Peter Hansen wrote:

I haven't been trying to keep up to date on this issue, but these
guys seem to feel there is something along those lines that can be done:
http://creativecommons.org/ (Specifically,


IMO the problem with the licenses (the CC is no help in that)
is that the terms are to vague. It is very easy to define
what it means to give away all rights, but for anything more
complicated it bogs down quickly:

What is a derivative work? When is attribution properly done?
What is a commercial use? What is fair use?

Istvan.
Jul 18 '05 #8
On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 13:09:51 +0000, Neil Hodgson wrote:
I would
love to be able to just renounce copyright on my work but it no longer
appears possible.


To the best of my knowledge, nothing prevents you from doing that. Usually
all you need is a "This work is placed in the public domain by the
author", and it would probably be a good idea to add a date and a name,
though later modifiers can freely remove it.

As long as you understand that if someone uses your software to power
their Alan Parsons Project "Laser" and holds the Earth hostage for ONE
MEEEEEEELION DOLLARS that you have no recourse whatsoever, that's fine.
(Obviously an extreme, but it is worth pointing out the relinquishing all
rights really means *all* rights; I've seen too many people who really
didn't get that. I don't mean to imply anything about you personally,
Neil, this is just one of my reflexive comments I make on this topic.)
Jul 18 '05 #9
Jeremy Bowers wrote:
On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 13:09:51 +0000, Neil Hodgson wrote:
I would
love to be able to just renounce copyright on my work but it no longer
appears possible.

To the best of my knowledge, nothing prevents you from doing that.


In Germany, copyright law prevents you from doing that. There is no
notion of public domain (Gemeinfreiheit ); this absence follows from
from §29 UrhG. You simply continue to remain the Urheber (copyright
holder) of some work, no matter what you declare.

Regards,
Martin
Jul 18 '05 #10

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