On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 01:21:16PM -0500, Pamela Chestek wrote:
> If anyone (non-lawyer or otherwise) thinks it would be bad
> live in a world where a GPL-like license could be enforced through the
> legal system by the obvious immediate beneficiaries of the source code
> requirement, feel free to speak up (in a HBR-compliant manner of
This is, in theory, a significant poison pill to the use of the
agreement, so it's a policy decision.
I am aware of this, but I wonder whether there are compensatory
aspects of copyleft-next (or more could be added) to nullify the
increase in poison. Already, let us say up till this change, I
consider copyleft-next to have the appearance of greater commercial
palatability than GPLv2/GPLv3 (this is kind of obvious for GPLv3 since
the anti-lockdown provisions were deleted as were most of the
patent-related provisions). That's not a major goal, but it's a minor
goal which I acknowledged at FOSDEM.
As a related aside, whether commercial vendor (or user, especially in
the case of AGPL-like licenses) sentiment towards FLOSS licenses has
any material impact in their uptake is an unanswered question. A key
assumption made by the FSF in the way it handled its quasi-public
drafting process for GPLv3 (2006-2007) was that in some way this was
so (even though the official view of the FSF remains that 'popularity'
of their licenses is a non-goal). I see no post-2007 evidence to
justify this view one way or another. I could elaborate on that though
it might get a bit off-topic.
That said, I suspect that anyone
who isn't sophisticated about copyleft (which is most everyone)
believes that this is already a feature of the GPL licenses. In other
words, the great fear of GPL is that it will "infect" your proprietary
code and you will be forced to release the source code. (Correct me
if I've misunderstood; I think this provision will have that effect.)
It is not intended to have that effect, because the license in general
is not intended to have that effect. (If anything I would like to
somehow make copyleft-next strong copyleft while making clearer that
this does not somehow equate to mass 'infection' of a larger
proprietary code base, though I am not quite sure how to do this.) It
is, however, intended to increase the (perceived) likelihood of
I am not sure if you know the FSF party line since approximately the
late 1990s, which has been quite influential (among developer
communities at least). It is that the GPL, at least, is "not a
contract" (this was even the initial title of GPLv3's acceptance
clause!) and only supports enforcement through an action for copyright
infringement by the copyright holder. Without getting into the
substance of this I note that it has shaped the nature of GPL
compliance activity at least on the community-upstream-licensor and
consumer-type end-user sides.
So I'm not sure that adding the actual mechanism for it to work
make the license less palatable to a commercial user of copylefted
code than the GPL already is, although it should.
Right, that makes sense. In a certain sense, you could say that adding
this mechanism to, say, GPLv2 would have made anti-GPL paranoia among
some corporate lawyers (or, say, opportunistic encouragement of
paranoia on the part of *some* outside counsel during the frothier
years of the 2000s) slightly more rational.