Legal Team/Minutes/2016-01-07

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  • Jilayne Lovejoy
  • Sam Ellis
  • Kris Reeves
  • Paul Madick
  • Kate Stewart
  • Alan Tse
  • Brad Edmondson


1) A discussion came up on the tech team regarding how to identify when there truly is no license and a package is just “all rights reserved” - please read the thread here: including my response at the bottom.

  • issue in Node and NPM - they were looking at specification for node package, which has a license field, but may not have room for other info as is done in SPDX specification; looking for what to populate that field with. For more info, see:
  • what can we do to help the situation? more than explanation on bugzilla needed?
  • Kris suggested something in the Appendix to clarify use of NONE or NOASSERTION v. license expression and/or get NPM to modify to support for that use case in NPM nit command
  • seems also helpful to add clarification to Appendix IV in spec - (e.g., NONE as a valid option as license expression) - put as a bug and assign to Kate, will confer with Jilayne and legal team on wording
  • NONE makes sense (for Node) to be a valid "license expression" b/c there is no "i don't know" when it's the author declaring the license; NOASSERTION doesn't make sense in this case (unless developer was waiting on legal for approval).
  • also would help to amend node documentation to point this out b/c people coming in there may not be looking at SPDX spec and looks like NPM is now suggesting "unlicensed" - Kris to reach out to them and open a bug to amend language there

2) 2016 priorities list, posted here:

  • looking for people to take the lead on some of these items (didn't get to on today's call)
  • Regarding the markup project - as we have earmarked this as a main priority for 2016 and this discussion has been resurrected on the tech call recently
  • See above link for reminder of this issue; we had had a joint call in October and then the tech team was going to kick the tires and schedule another joint call
  • Tech team has earmarked call for Jan 19 for joint discussion; Kate will send invite to legal and tech teams with specific dial-in next week

3) Open Gaming License

  • Alan did some research - license seems to try to cover / differentiate various aspects, including mechanics of game and things related to brand identity; seems like IP law concepts got a bit muddled in license drafting and perhaps trying to cover things by copyright that aren't really copyright-able. Tries to draw a line b/w what can be modified/shared and what can't (this stuff is often bundled together in reality)
  • We do have other "non-software", e.g., documentation licenses (FDL, CC licenses) on list, but they are truly open
  • question as to open-ness of this license - attempts to allow "open game content" to be open, but limits open license to this and not "product identity" aspects. Kris explained this draws line around rules/mechanical functional part v. settings/universe in games and otherwise tried to educate those of us who are clueless on gaming as to what this license is trying to achieve
  • Brad wondered if the intent of the license was actually to have more items included in "open game content" definition than is articulated
  • How commonly used is this license? Alan thinks it is common within the gaming industry. Kris found that Wizards of the Coast owns (c) of license and uses it; they are big deal and means that it is probably used for their stuff
  • The license is both open, and very restrictive. how do we balance "open-ness" v. "use"? would wide use and more requests to add tip the balance? We have prioritized open-ness
  • Decision: license is not open enough, too many restrictions. Alan to let submitter know