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

From: Joseph Wakeling
Subject: Re: Copyright/licensing action plan + a sample [PATCH]
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 00:42:47 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090817)

Anthony W. Youngman wrote:
> 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.

... but we have no records of that switch, because copyright and
licensing details have not been tracked on a per-file or
per-contribution base.  If the license has not been stated within the
code they contributed, it can't be assumed by users of Lilypond,
regardless of verbal/email assurances (which most users won't know about

> 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

That's a very good suggestion and I will follow it.

> 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!

I stress that the main point of my activity is not to switch the license
(a decision not for me to take) but to attempt to identify who made
significant (i.e. copyrightable) contributions what to which files.

> 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.

Yes, very fair point -- I do not want to force a license choice on
anyone.  The main point of the spreadsheet is not in any case to track
license choices but contributions.  Perhaps you would like to take a look:

> 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?

Again, fair point.  I've no wish to argue (now) the merits of different
licensing choices.

> 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!

The only reason for mentioning v2+ was just to get an idea of the number
of people willing to relicense in a way that could satisfy all other
licensing desires -- not an attempt to force it on anyone.  Note that in
the sample patch I posted the license was very clearly v2 only -- the
existing license of Lilypond.  Not really the actions of someone trying
to ram his 'favourite license' down everyone's throats, is it?

> 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!)

Eh??!!!  Google Docs is a web app, you don't have to have anything on
your system.  It's just handy because this way I can share a link (like
above) that lets anyone view the progress of my work, and I can also
open the document to others who want to contribute.

I can export the data to OpenOffice, Excel or any damn format you like
-- it can wind up as a comma- or tab-separated text file if you really
want it to.  It's not about requiring Lilypond to do anything, it's just
something that is useful for me, now, actually trying to work out who
authored what.  And since I don't see anyone else wanting to take on
that (arguably sensible) task, it might be nice to let me get on with it
without beating me over the head for what you assume are my intentions
regarding Lilypond's license(*).

Thanks nevertheless for your useful suggestions -- I hope this email
clears up what I do and don't intend.  I'll update the licensing part of
the spreadsheet accordingly.

Best wishes,

    -- Joe

(*) If I _was_ going to try and force my 'favourite license' on people
I'd be jumping up and down trying to get everyone to go with the AGPL.
But I'm not.  So I won't.

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