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RE: clickthrough license

From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: RE: clickthrough license
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 2004 09:04:43 +0200

Hi David,

On Mon, 2004-10-04 at 01:01, David Holmes wrote:
> I think you will find that all the Java specifications are protected by a
> similar license (which basically preserves the namespace usage and requires
> complete conformance from an implementation).

It got worse the last years. Specs, or at least draft specs would be
published publicly without having any click-through license to which
people have to consent. There are also some nice counter examples though
of expert groups doing everything publicly (JSR133 about the memory
model, JSR166 about concurrency util classes).

Besides, the terms/claims in these click-through documents seems to
change over time, so if we really need to accept them to be used as
primary source of information when working on GNU Classpath then we need
to (re)check each time.

>  Even specs that get printed
> will have a license included in the book. Only third party books that
> describe an API will not have such a license, but nor are they definitive
> sources of information on an API specification.

There is a lot of case law about using publicly published information
from printed books. So books (with a normal ISBN number) are always
prefered to use as authorative source. If that means not having the
"definitive source" then so be it. Programmers will use published books
or publicly published articles to write their programs, so we better
make sure we are at least compatible with what they use/expect.

> Best get this cleared through FSF legal ASAP.

It is pretty clear. Use public documentation, which doesn't need you to
consent to any additional click-through terms, as primary source when
working on GNU Classpath, preferably books. For anything else we (FSF
Legal) needs to look at the specific terms. Since as noticed above the
terms are not always the same.

FSF Legal will always advise not to take any unnessecary risks that
might endanger the (perceived) free software status of a GNU project.
(If we might need to go to court to proof that what we did was OK, then



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