Legal Team/Minutes/2016-03-03

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  • Paul Madick
  • Dennis Clark
  • Eric Weddington
  • Alan Tse
  • Kyle Mitchell
  • Mark Gisi
  • Brad Edmundson
  • Kate Stewart
  • Kris Reeves
  • Jilayne Lovejoy


1) New license requests: Considering it is already March, we will begin with the two new license requests, to be sure they can be resolved and added for the Q1 release at the end of the month. Please see:

  • Free Art License 1.3 - approved for 2.4, but need to resolve different language/versions question
    • discussed challenge of licenses with different translations and matching - should we have different translations of a license as separate licenses or just the "canonical" language and then other translations would be treated as a match? what if the license steward doesn't identify the canonical language?
    • current status on license list regarding licenses that have non-English translations (that we know of):
      • CECILL licenses are included as separate licenses, which reflects how they are presented by license steward
      • EUPL is listed in English with link (in Notes field) to list of other translations; EUPL-1.1 has clause stating that "All linguistic versions of this Licence, approved by the European Commission, have identical value. Parties can take advantage of the linguistic version of their choice." --> Thus, treating translations as equivalent seems like the right choice (although we currently don't have a mechanism for matching to this end)
      • D-FSL-1.0 is listed in German with link to English translation. The license includes a clause (in English) stating: "This License is written in German and English. Both versions are equally binding. It is assumed that terminology used in the License has the same meaning in both versions. Should, however, differences arise, such meaning is authoritative which best brings into line both versions, taking into consideration the aim and purpose of the License." --> Thus, also in this case, treating translations as equivalent seems like the right choice (although we currently don't have a mechanism for matching to this end)
    • more discussion of which way this license should go: Dennis' French language skills leads him to believe they are different licenses and we should add all versions as separate items, perhaps using essentially same identifier with a language differentiator at the end of the identifier
    • worst case scenario could/would be if different licenses taken to court in different languages could be interpreted to have different meanings - this would also cut towards having 7 different licenses; Court would have to honor clause in license that defined prevailing interpretation v. if it just said this on website, we don't know if judge would honor that in the same way as if it was drafted that way. on other hand, courts can come up with different interpretations of same license in same language anyway!
    • ACTION ITEM: Jilayne to reach out to license authors to ask their thoughts and post comment on Github thread to this end
  • BSD-3-Clause minus clause 2?
    • discussed where used, what (possible) goal of license to avoid attribution requirements for binary distributions, which has been a topic in various places
    • looks like license is used by one entity (named in license) - small sofware consultancy, but on multiple projects; given above possible goal, could see more use
    • discussed possible name and short identifier as: BSD Source Code Attribution - BSD-Source-Code (license author just refers to it as "BSD License" - no good for SPDX)
    • ACTION ITEM: Paul to reach out to license author (who was not the one to ask license to be added to SPDX) that we want to add it, but wanted to let him know of the proposed full name and identifier
  • As a result of discussions and resulting action items for these two licenses, determined that anytime a request to add a license comes from someone other than the license author (to the extent we can tell this), might be worth reaching out to license author as courtesy if nothing else (and to avoid 0BSD / OSI type scenario from occurring) - added to license tracking Google worksheet as a reminder item in our review
    • to discuss: consider adding item for when requesting a new license to ask: Are you the license author? If no, can you identify the license author? - or something along those lines

2) Collab Summit update:

  • SPDX all day Wednesday, OpenChain Thursday morning; FOSSology Thursday afternoon
  • update on who’s going or not able to:
    • going: Kate, Jilayne, Paul, Phil, Kris,Mark
    • maybe: Alan, Eric
    • no: Dennis, Brad, Kyle

3) XML license templates project: Kris has done a second pass - see his previous email, updated wiki page here:, and actual source of files here:

  • come up with practical plan for reviewing license and possible need for scheduling of additional meetings
  • cut and paste using something like Komodo for easier viewing
  • Jilayne to setup different call w/Kris and Gary for purpose of discussing details of formatting, conversion to HTML pages, etc.