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Re: clickthrough license

From: Per Bothner
Subject: Re: clickthrough license
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 19:05:19 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X Mach-O; en-US; rv:1.7.2) Gecko/20040803

David Holmes wrote:
I should said PMO rather than JCP. The JCP document itself doesn't cover
this, however the PMO seems to require it. If you look at the Spec lead
Guide on you'll see that for Proposed Final Draft "The PMO will
provide the spec license ..." and then for Final Approval Ballot "The PMO
hosts the Final Approval Ballot for you, and uses Sun's general FCS license
unless you provide your own FCS license.".

On other words, the specification licenses are provided by the PMO not the
JCP itself. (Note that the specification license is distinct from the RI and
TCK licenses.) You'd need to contact the PMO directly to clarify this and to
see what possible licenses exist.

You're quoting from a section on the Proposed Final Draft.  It is not
unreasonable that the draft would have a more restrictive license than
the actual final spec. However, the final release does say "the spec must be set up with a click-through license."

However, I'm sure Spec Leads can pick their license terms, at least
within certain limits.  And some JSRs are "open-source", at least the

But JCP is all very complicated, with a huge amount of process, and I
can't pretend to what extent Classpath might have problems.

I don't believe that not saying the "Java" word when describing what GNU
Classpath is lets you off the hook here. If nothing else the classes and
API's in the java* namespaces would fall under Sun's copyright.

You mean Sun's trademark, not copyright, of course.

I do? The API's are not as far as I am aware trademarked. It seems to me
that defining a set of API's that match Sun's Java API's would be copying
them - hence infringing on copyright.

Implementing a specification is *not* copying the specification.
However, I assume (as a non-lawyer) that copyright law does allow
Sun to place restrictions on downloading/reading (i.e. copying) the
specification, and hence there is a specification license.  Interpreting
the license is I understand more an issue of contract law than of
copyright law.

If you don't read the official specification and haven't agreed to
the license, then you can implement whatever you want without concern
about Sun's copyright, assuming you use public documents, such as books
and magazine articles.

However, avoiding the official Sun-licensed specification doesn't
protect you from patent or trademark issues.  And Sun has trademarked
"Java", so if you implement a class called java.lang.String then you
could conceivably be infringing on Sun's trademark.

That's why I believe Sun's trademarks and patents are a more
fundamental concern that the copyright.
        --Per Bothner

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