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Re: Copyright/licensing action plan + a sample [PATCH]

From: Anthony W. Youngman
Subject: Re: Copyright/licensing action plan + a sample [PATCH]
Date: Sun, 13 Sep 2009 23:00:28 +0100
User-agent: Turnpike/6.07-M (<U1W6TVH8PTCsG3mvbGV+2+aDgX>)

In message <address@hidden>, Joseph Wakeling <address@hidden> writes
I'm then entering these details into a Google Docs spreadsheet (which
I'll share with anyone who requests it).  The same spreadsheet also
contains a complete list of contributors (from Francisco's .mailmap) and
a note on whether they support switching the license to GPLv2+ and
whether they are willing to dual-license doc contributions as GPLv2+.

I think you don't understand copyright properly ...

DON'T track "whether they support switching the licence". Because if they do, they will (presumably already) have switched the licence on their contributions.

For each contributor you want to track the licence THEY have used. Obviously, it's v2-compatible - it must be. So I would suggest the spreadsheet contain the following columns ...

Contributor, licence, v3 compatible?, date, comment

You are exhibiting a touching, blind, blinkered faith in the FSF. If I may speak for Han-Wen, I don't think he shares that faith. There may well be lilypond contributors who don't believe in the GPL, surprising as that may sound! But there's nothing stopping BSD believers (who may find the GPL offensive!) from contributing to lilypond.

DO NOT try to switch the licence to v2+. You will probably run into a brick wall! And if the eventual plan is to be v3-compatible you're setting yourself up for failure!

Use your spreadsheet to *track* *all* the licences to lilypond, not restrict the licences you can handle to an arbitrary subset of the licences you think other people should use (that attitude is offensive). That way, your spreadsheet will actually BE USEFUL. And it might achieve something POSITIVE. As you describe your intentions, the spreadsheet looks pretty useless at the moment.

As it is, I find your emphasis on v2+ offensive, and I doubt I'm alone. Given the choice of "v2 or v2+", I'd go for "v2 only". But if you ask me "what licence would *I* choose?", my reply would be "v2/v3". See what I mean about your approach being counter-productive?

I repeat. Sod *your* choice of favourite licences. Just *track* the licences contributors have chosen, and then you can also track whether the licences are v3-compatible. If you ask Han-Wen "will you change your licence to v2/v3" I think you stand a decent chance of getting a "yes". If you ask "will you change to v2+?" you'll almost certainly get a flat NO!

By the way, I said to put a column in the spreadsheet called "date". That spreadsheet should be in the source code, probably in a LICENSING subdirectory, along with copies of all the emails contributors send confirming their license. That way you can track how and when people change licensing. (And you're not adding yet ANOTHER dependency, namely Google Docs, that people have to have if they're going to contribute to lilypond. And how do they patch the spreadsheet, if you screw up? I certainly don't want Google Docs on my system!)

Anthony W. Youngman - address@hidden

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