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Re: IETF Last Call for two IPR WG Dcouments

2008-03-28 08:17:36
"Joel M. Halpern" <jmh(_at_)joelhalpern(_dot_)com> writes:

I do not understand the problem you want addressed.  The way this is 
worded, it doesn't matter what "open source" or "free software" is or 
becomes.  The intention is to grant anyone to do anything with the code 
segments.  That's what we ask the trust to do. Further in line.

The problem is that without proper guidelines on how to make a software
license compatible with free software licenses, it is possible to end up
with something that won't be compatible, and thus wouldn't meet the
intended goals.

Given that the IETF Trust doesn't publish drafts or have a history of
asking for community review on the legal license they chose, I believe
it is important that the IETF articulate its wishes in ways that reduce
chances of misunderstandings or are open for interpretation.

Simon Josefsson wrote:
Regarding -outbound section 4.3:


   As such, the rough consensus is that the IETF Trust is to grant
   rights such that code components of IETF contributions can be
   extracted, modified, and used by anyone in any way desired.  To
   enable the broadest possible extraction, modification and usage, the
   IETF Trust should avoid adding software license obligations beyond
   those already present in a contribution.  The granted rights to
   extract, modify and use code should allow creation of derived works
   outside the IETF that may carry additional license obligations.
This says that the trust is to grant rights so that code can be 
extracted, modified, and used by ANYONE.  I.e. our grant will not place 
restrictions on people.


I believe the intention here is good, but it leaves the IETF Trust with
no guidelines on how to write the license declaration that is likely to
work well in practice with actual products.  There are no reference to
what "open source" means in this context, and references to "free
software" is missing.

I believe it would be a complete failure if code-like portions of RFCs
cannot be included into open source and free software products such as
the Debian project.
If we grant anyone the right to use the code any way they want, which 
means that we specifically can not require preservation of notices or 
anything else, how could it fail to meet the requirements of the 
specific cases you list?

If you show me the software license that is going to be used, the
community will be able to tell you.

Writing software licenses that are compatible with free software
licenses is a complicated area, and there are many ways to fail.  If you
haven't evaluated licenses for compatibility before, I suggest to look
at what the debian-legal list has been doing.  There are subtle issues
that can prevent a license from giving the necessary rights.  As far as
I know the IETF Trust does not have extensive knowledge of free software
licensing and license compatibility considerations.  Helping them to get
this right by providing some sanity tests (the OSD, FSD and DFSG) to run
their drafts against will help them.

To give the Trust something concrete to work with I propose to add the

  To make sure the granted rights are usable in practice, they need to
  at least meet the requirements of the Open Source Definition [OSD],
  the Free Software Definition [FSD], and the Debian Free Software
  Guidelines [DFSG].

For those who fear that this will lead to complexity: releasing
something that is compatible with those requirements is simple.  The
modified BSD license meets those requirements, as does a number of other
methods, including releasing the work into the public domain.
My concern is not complexity.  Referencing the specific documents is 
more restrictive than what the working group recommended.  I don't see 
why that would help anything.

Please read again what I proposed, in particular "at least meet the
requirements".  If the Trust's software license do not meet those
requirements, then it clearly will not meet the intended IETF goals that
we agree on.

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