MOUL Forum poll for licensing

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rarified
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MOUL Forum poll for licensing

Post by rarified » Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:20 am

It obviously doesn't carry any obligation since the poster is not a Cyan rep, but there is a new poll on the MOUL forums from someone (apparently) with IP law credentials regarding suggestions about what type of license should be used for offering various parts of Open URU.

http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=280506

[edit] Fix URL
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Re: MOUL Forum poll for licensing

Post by Mac_Fife » Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:05 pm

OK, it's holiday season, but that poll has had two replies (at the time of this post), which I think reflects the level of comfort (or possibly interest) most folks have in discussing the ins and outs of the licence(s) that Cyan may employ.

There was probably no particular benefit in formulating that post as a poll and possibly a mistake to presume to "advise" Cyan on how they should licence their code and content: Cyan does, after all, have it's own legal team (well, there's Tony at least :) ), although I guess the whole open source thing is a new area for them.

It will be important to understand exactly what it permitted and prohibited by the licence(s). My suspicion is that different licences will be applied to different elements to accomodate third party libraries, IP, etc., so server code may be ISC/BSD, but the client might be LGPL, and game content covered by something quite different again.

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Re: MOUL Forum poll for licensing

Post by rarified » Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:41 pm

Mac_Fife wrote:There was probably no particular benefit in formulating that post as a poll and possibly a mistake to presume to "advise" Cyan on how they should licence their code and content: Cyan does, after all, have it's own legal team (well, there's Tony at least :) ), although I guess the whole open source thing is a new area for them.
My sentiments as well --- since I didn't vote there either ;)

I did want to draw attention there to watch what was happening. And it was interesting to see someone enumerate a number of the options available.
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Re: MOUL Forum poll for licensing

Post by Mac_Fife » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:22 pm

Here's a summary of OS licence types (not necessarily all-encompassing, but a fair selection) I obtained from a report by our corporate lawyers:

1 GENERAL PUBLIC LICENCE
1.1 The GPL is a 'viral' licence which mandates that software which incorporates GPL-licensed code may only be licensed under the GPL. Furthermore, no additional restrictions can be imposed on GPL-licensed code. Therefore GPL-licensed code is often incompatible with code made available under different licence terms.
1.2 The GPL requires that source code (or an offer to provide the source code) is made available on redistribution, including that of any code combined with the GPL-licensed code.
1.3 In order for further users to be able to modify a program, modified files should carry a notice drawing attention to the changes made to the original software and the date such changes were made.
1.4 Licences which are incompatible with the GPL (i.e., code can not be combined with GPL code and then licensed under the GPL) are:
(a) CPL (used by WTL);
(b) MPL (used by AsyncPro, OpenH323, OpenGK, gSOAP).
1.5 Licences which are compatible with the GPL are:
(a) GPL
(b) LGPL (also as used by FLTK with some modifications)
(c) BSD and the similar licences used by Newlib, libJPEG and LWIP
(d) Zlib and LibPNG
(e) OpenMap

2 FLTK (MODIFIED LESSER GENERAL PUBLIC LICENCE - LGPL)
2.1 The LGPL is similar to the GPL but allows a program to use a library of LGPL functions without the program itself becoming a derivative work of the library (unlike under the GPL). This allows the program to be licensed on different terms and not become subject to the LGPL. Only changes to the library itself need to be onwardly licensed under the LGPL and therefore made public on any distribution.
2.2 The program using the library is not subject to any viral effect providing that it does not contain a derivative of any portion of the library and is kept in isolation. The FLTK licence explicitly states that in such circumstances there is no requirement to provide the FLTK licence with programs linked with the FLTK library, nor does the FLTK licence have to be identified in documentation.
2.3 However, under the standard LGPL, a work that uses the library that is not in isolation but is linked with the library constitutes an executable that is a derivative of the library, and becomes subject to the licence. An exception is where a work links only with portions of the library; this can be distributed under terms of the programmer's choice, providing that the terms permit modification of the work for the customer's own use and reverse-engineering for debugging modifications.
2.4 The FLTK licence is a modification of the LGPL. The FLTK licence narrows the meaning of 'derivative work', providing more freedom without making the code subject to the LGPL terms. Specifically, it sets out that the following are not a derivative work:
(a) Modifications to the FLTK configure script, config. header file and makefiles;
(b) Widgets subclassed from FLTK widgets;
(c) Static linking of applications and widgets to the FLTK library.
2.5 The practice of compiling in-house source code into separate object modules which are then linked with each other and the libraries to form the executable application does not make the in-house code subject to the viral effect.

3 COMMON PUBLIC LICENCE (USED BY WTL)
3.1 The CPL is broadly similar to the GPL in its terms and is fairly restrictive. It is published by IBM.
3.2 IBM considers that a user is not authorised to apply the terms of another licence to the program by including it in another OSS program. The licence also states that where a program is made available in source code form it must be made available under the CPL.
3.3 However, IBM considers that it is possible to incorporate a CPL program into a proprietary product distributed in executable form under a single licence, as long as the licence refers to the CPL portion and complies with the CPL terms for that portion. Therefore as with the GPL it is possible to produce a separate, non-derivative work which can be combined without making the source code available.
3.4 The CPL is incompatible with the GPL as it contains specific requirements not satisfied by the GPL; for example, a patent restriction clause prevents a user from bringing a patent action.
3.5 If the software is included in a commercial product offering then the distributor is required to indemnify all other contributors against any losses arising from any claim brought by a third party which results from the actions of the distributor. For example, if you were to include software licensed under the CPL in one of its products and distribute that product offering warranties or making performance claims in respect of the product, those warranties or performance claims would be your responsibility alone. This commercial indemnity does not apply to third party claims in respect of any intellectual property infringement.
3.6 The CPL is governed by the law of the State of New York. It also restricts parties from bringing legal action under the licence more than one year after the cause of action arose.

4 MOZILLA PUBLIC LICENCE (ASYNCPRO, OpenH323, OPen GK)
4.1 Like the GPL and CPL, the MPL requires that the source code of any modifications or derivative works must be made available.
4.2 The licence allows the distribution of code in executable form under a different licence providing that the licence does not attempt to limit or alter the rights in the source code provided in the MPL.
4.3 In a similar way to the LGPL, the MPL allows the combination of MPL code with other code to create a larger work without requiring the other code to be distributed under the MPL. The definition of a Larger Work is a work which combines MPL code or portions of it with code not governed by the MPL.
4.4 The MPL is incompatible with the GPL; a module covered by the GPL and a module covered by the MPL cannot be linked together.
4.5 The MPL is governed by Californian law. Furthermore, in respect of disputes between parties where one party is a citizen of, or an entity chartered or registered in, the United States of America, any legal action is subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts of the Northern District of California and must be brought in the Santa Clara County.

5 GSOAP (DERIVED FROM MPL)
5.1 gSOAP is distributed under both the gSOAP licence and the GPL. The applicable licence can be chosen for most parts. A commercial licence is also available.
5.2 Except where under a commercial licence, some parts of the program are only licensed under the GPL, as set out in the preamble to the licence.
5.3 The gSOAP licence is very similar to the MPL and all the points above apply to it. However, unlike the MPL, the gSOAP licence does not expressly state the governing law of the licence.
5.4 Unlike the MPL, the gSOAP licence requires that any modification is provided to the initial developer in source code form (rather than to anyone to whom an executable version is provided). This will only apply where there is onward distribution.

6 BSD-STYLE LICENCES (OSLRD, LibJPEG, LWIP, NEWLIB)
6.1 The BSD Licence is simple and permissive. It has few restrictions compared to other OSS licenses such as the GPL.
6.2 The BSD License allows software released under the license to be incorporated into proprietary commercial products. Works based on the material may be released under a proprietary license (but still must maintain the basic licence requirements: see below).
6.3 The licence requirements are that the original copyright notice is retained, and that redistributions must also carry the same conditions as to retention of the copyright notice. This usually results in a long list of copyright notices.
(The Newlib licence states that the Newlib subdirectory is a collection of software from different sources. Additional requirements apply to Linux targets, which are subject to the LGPL licence (see paragraph 21 and 22 of the licence)).

7 Zlib/LibPNG
7.1 Zlib and LibPNG are subject to a straightforward licence which allows use for any purpose providing that any altered source versions are clearly marked and not represented as the original software, and that any source distribution carries the same notice.

8 OpenMap
8.1 The OpenMap licence is a fairly flexible licence which does not specify that it must be applied to modifications. OpenMap has the right to use and sublicense derivative works, but there appears to be no obligation to provide modifications to OpenMap.
8.2 However, the right to make derivative works (except where for internal use only) is subject to including prominent notices within each file documenting changes and:
(a) placing the modifications in the public domain; or
(b) alternatively renaming any non-standard executables so that the names do not conflict with standard executables, and providing a manual page for each to document differences.
8.3 If source code is not provided on distribution, any non-standard executables must be accompanied by the corresponding OpenMap originals with changes documented, as above; or an OpenMap version of the executables and library files together with instructions on where to obtain OpenMap must be provided.
8.4 The licence states that you may distribute OpenMap software in aggregate with other programs as part of a larger software distribution provided that you do not advertise the OpenMap software or derivatives as your own product.
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