Legal Team/Minutes/2012-06-27

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  • Jilayne Lovejoy, OpenLogic
  • Adam Cohn, Cisco
  • Peter Williams, OpenLogic
  • Jason Buttara, Cisco


Complete the first draft of the license list matching guideline!!!

Outstanding issues:

1) Matching text – indicating replaceable or omitable text. Last call we determined that we needed precise indentification within the licenses of what text can be replaced or ignored for matching purposes. We were going to use {{double curly brackets}} to indicate such, but a subsequent comment on the mailing list pointed out that "replaceable text" (e.g. Copyright holder, company name, etc.) should probably be indicated differently than text that can simply be ignored (e.g. Copyright notice line).

PROPOSAL: indicate both using HTML/CSS formatting/styles instead of {{abc}} or [[def]] The brackets are hard to see in the license text. There has already been discussion around changing the "master" license text files to more fully formatted HTML files, so that the formatting on the website will look better (there would still be a downloadable text version for people who wish to have such a copy).

Advantages: license will display better, more options for using HTML tags as indicators for matching kills two birds with one stone. Makes it easier to see replaceable or omitable text at a glance. If the SPDX license website pages are to really be a "canonical url" reference, then they might as well display well. 2 examples of how this could work are attached here and uploaded to the license matching guidelines webpage. These are the full HTML pages for each license (but if implemented, this would need only include the actual license text part, as well as the standard header, if applicable, presumably)

→ discussion - no disagreements here, but only 4 of us on the call..

  • Discussed how to better define "replaceable" text versus "omitable" (or ignorable text): need to differentiate between text that can be ignored, for example, instructions at the end of the license as to how to apply the license in which case, this text is not really part of the substantive license text and sometimes removed. Whether it's there or not does not delineate a match, but also want to avoid the potential to ignore other additional clauses that are added in the same place, but should be considered for matching (or non-matching) purposes.
  • thus, narrow rule to such that if the text is there, then it needs to match, but if it is not there, that's okay/does not disqualify the match
  • for "replaceable" text - guideline seems okay as is
  • put more examples in all cases
  • discussed how to deal with license title - is this "replaceable" or "omitable"? narrowed omitable rule now won't really apply, but concern if making it "replaceable" could result in other substantive text in same place being added (that isn't a title) and still counted as a license match when it shouldn't be.
  • DECISION (for time being and in light of only 4 people on call): revise guidelines as per above comments; revise HTML samples to not highlight license title either with either indicator and leave Guideline 11 as guidance as to that (basically punting title issue for now)
  • need more people to weigh in on all of this...

2) other issues or questions as indicated on matching guidelines by italics

  • did not get to

3) remaining issues in comments that have yet to be addressed or incorporated

  • did not get to