First, the NDA thing was not really necessary and I almost left it out my
example (and should have). FWIW, the reason I put it in there was to
communicate the idea that there might be some reason the Downstream was
forbidden from mentioning the deal itself, and thus the public wouldn't know
they had new permissions under copyleft-next.
But let's leave my NDA out of it -- it muddies the example. Let's focus on
this being the reason the Downstream never distributes:
> Downstream would have the right to distribute under the
> but why would they? They just paid a lot of money to get that, and they
> just give it to their competition? There are few business who would care
> about software freedom enough to do that.
I brought *that* up because I was expecting you to say: "Oh, if Vendor sells
Downstream a 2-Clause-BSD, then Downstream can just post it on the Internet,
and everyone else effectively *has* the same license anyway." Let's just
assume that won't happen for the reasons I stated above (or other ones):
> I think *maybe* this problem (if real) could be remedied with a
> proprietary relicensing clause that reads something more like this:
> If I distribute a Covered Work under any license (except pursuant to
(More specifically, "except pursuant to 6(a)" [stuff under compatible
Yeah, more focused on 6(a) but also not sure if 6(b-c) have impact on or
interaction bug with my proposed rewrite of this clause. Do they?
"If I offer to license, for a fee, a Covered Work under terms
a license that is OSI-Approved or FSF-Free as of the release date of this
License or a numbered version of copyleft-next released by the
Copyleft-Next Project, then the license I grant You under section 1 is no
longer subject to the conditions in sections 3 through 5."
Maybe we should go back to that? At the moment I can't remember why this
was changed. Though it may still have the tomfoolery problem you're
Actually, that old version is "even worse" in this regard, because it
explicitly *permits* Vendor to sell 2-Clause-BSD versions of the software to
We can't forbid them from doing this outright, because in the examples we're
worried about, they're the sole copyright holder. What I'm trying to do is:
(a) make sure that the Vendor is *highly disincentivezed* from selling
non-copylefted licenses to the software,
(b) all copyleft requirements deflate on all copyrights Vendor holds on any
Covered Works, everywhere, at the very moment any non-copyleft license
(c) That the public has a way to find out if (a) and/or (b) have happened.
I think the current draft does much better at these jobs than any other
version, but I still think there is the "non-copyleft FOSS license loophole"
in both versions.
If it weren't for 6(a), BTW, I would probably just write it this way:
If I distribute a Covered Work under any license other than this License,
then the licenses I grant You under section 1 are no longer subject to the
conditions in sections 2 and 3.
Basically, this clause itself must be a copyleft clause (sorry for the
recursion), in that it must apply to all Covered Works *and* confine the
behavior (namely, the permanent relaxation of all *other* copyleft
requirements for every Covered Work controlled by given "I" (in the
problematic case, the sole licensor). We also have to be sure, BTW, that it
doesn't relax copyleft for any other "I"s (i.e., copyright holders who may
have made Covered Works by combining/adding their own copyrighted material
I *think* this 'just works' but I'm wondering if there are bugs? I also
really wanna explore how 6(a) interacts. (I assume 6(a) is there to get some
GPLv3/AGPLv3 compatibility? I'm not completely sure 6(a) works right anyway,
so maybe that's why I'm all worried about how 6(a) will interact with this
I'm not wedded to "nullification" (though I'm not
sure I like "deflation",
but I can't think of anything better). BTW, prior to copyleft-next 0.2.0
the ancestral section was called "Effect of Proprietary Relicensing".
After I posted my email yesterday, I thought of a new section name for this
section: "Copyleft Equality Clause". And, we could still call the *outcome*
the clause causes as "deflating proprietary relicensing".
Bradley M. Kuhn - he/him
Pls. support the charity where I work, Software Freedom Conservancy: