Does anyone have an opinion on whether copyleft-next (presumably the
most recent numbered release) should be submitted for OSI approval?
I had given a little thought to the idea in the past, but while I was
on the OSI board (2013-2019) I considered it to be inappropriate.
On a CHR😩-governed mailing list, there is a thread regarding Termination
provisions in GPLv3. One of the points I've made on that thread there is
that, frankly, the industry obsession with extending termination provisions
as if its a panacea reflects the dueal widespread misunderstandings that (a)
most copyleft violations are due to innocent mistakes that companies want to
repair and (b) that so-called “copyright trolls” are common for copylefted
works (when they are, in fact, exceedingly rare).
This may be neither here nor there, but it lead me to look again at what the
Termination provision of copyleft-next. I see that it hasn't changed much
since the original 2012 drafts.
Most notably, I see it still contains a patent infringement litigation
> b. Initiate a patent infringement litigation claim (excluding
> counterclaims and cross-claims) alleging that all or part of My
> Work directly or indirectly infringes a patent.
Upon reading this, I wonder if this is really necessary? I remember when I
first read it back in 2012, I thought “oh, great use of a patent poison
pill”, but now I'm dubious.
The reason I'm now dubious about it is that patents are even more weaponized
and more consolidated than they were previously. Frankly, I'm am just *not*
sympathetic to a litigation between two patent holders, which is the most
likely use of this clause. Specifically, it's a case like this:
Company Foo sues Company Bar for patent infringement. Company Bar exercises
this clause, terminates rights, and then immediately sues a counterclaim.
Foo has no rights under copyleft-next, but Bar retains their rights.
But what about declaratory judgment lawsuits? What about situations where
Bar was actually the patent aggressor out-of-court and Foo preemptively
acted? (I was recently reading that something like this happened in the
So, in summary, I think a smart patent aggressor can manipulate the
situation and find themselves being the one in the cross-claim/counterclaim
So, upon consideration, I think we should cut the patent poison pill
entirely. This has the upside of making the license shorter by 3 lines /
180 chars / 25 words. Can we discuss?
Bradley M. Kuhn - he/him
Pls. support the charity where I work, Software Freedom Conservancy:
I had some informal discussions relating to copyleft-next in Brussels
around the time of FOSDEM, potentially triggering the need for an HBR
For reference, the relevant part of HBR  says:
"Except in extraordinary cases, private telephone calls, private
teleconferences, private in-person meetings, and private email
communications shall not be used to discuss *substantive* development
of this project. Should such private communications nevertheless
occur, participants in such communications are expected to publish
summaries of any relevant discussions in a manner or medium accessible
to the general net public."
I can only really remember one discussion I'd consider possibly
substantive, which took place in a noisy bar following CopyleftConf on
Monday 3 February. This was a conversation with bkuhn and a few other
individuals whose names unfortunately escape me or which I did not
know to begin with. This was basically a continuation of the
discussion bkuhn had started some time ago on this mailing list,
pointing out some potential flaws in the current implementation of
what some are now calling a copyleft equality clause. I'm not sure any
truly new ideas or problems were brought up in this conversation.
Perhaps bkuhn or, if they are on this list, any of the other
participants in this conversation can remember more.