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Re: IETF Last Call for two IPR WG Dcouments

2008-03-28 10:25:43
Joel M. Halpern wrote:
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.

I think Simon is suggesting that we provide some guidance to the Trust
in choosing a license. IANAL, however the phrase "grant anyone to do
anything" sounds nice in theory but needs to be translated into a
functioning license. As far as I can see there are three licenses that
would fit the bill:

1. The MIT license
2. A BSD-style license
3. A designation that the code is in the public domain

Some people allege that it is not possible to put a work directly into
the public domain (although I disagree), which is why they prefer to use
a license.

As a point of comparison, the XMPP Standards Foundation recently worked
to make sure that its specifications are safe for inclusion in free
sofware, and decided upon a slightly-modified MIT license (modified in
order to make clear that we were publishing specifications, not code).
The resulting license is here:

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.

Correct. But we need to have a license over the code, not just say that
anyone can use it, which legally is void for vagueness (IMO IANAL etc.).


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?

Because it is not covered by a license.

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.

See above. Perhaps it would be more helpful to reference some specific
licenses that would realize the stated intent?


Peter Saint-Andre

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