Re: Copyright notice for demo source headers

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Mon Mar 08 2004 - 13:49:21 CST

> On Mar 8, 2004, at 12:21 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
>> I am purposely posting this on the voting-project list and not on the
>> ovc-demo-list. I don't want to distract the demo team too much with
>> this
>> issue. We had a long discussion on licensing issue back in August of
>> last
>> year.

On Monday, March 8, 2004, at 02:14 PM, Douglas W. Jones wrote:
> Right. But that discussion didn't apply to the demo, but to real
> products. For a demo, I'm all for pure GPL.

While I don't object to simply going pure-GPL from the start, it is not
simple to try to apply a license change between demo and "production."
It is EXTREMELY likely that copyrightable portions of the demo will be
utilized in the production version as well. Even if the primary
implementation code is not used (though parts of it probably will be),
there are all kinds of ancillary files like XML documents, DTDs,
Schemas, API documentation, data files, perhaps the sound samples,
graphics used in the GUI or ballot printout, and probably others I
forget now. Binding ourselves to a complete "clean room" environment
for the production system is not a good idea--it means firing all the
developers who worked on the demo, among other things.

It's not totally impossible to switch licenses, of course. You just
need the permission of EVERYONE who contributed any copyrightable
material. If you can't contact a contributor, you can got through and
figure out every single part that needs a clean-room
reimplementation... and so on. No impossible, but an unnecessary
hassle. But an arbitrary group (say, the OVC board) cannot simply
declare a new license at a certain point.

That said, if Doug wants to give up the extra EVMPL clause now, I'm
fine with that. It was only added to the *DEMO* at his urging, in the
first place. I don't really think it buys us what Doug wants anyway
(basically, it is not legally precise what constitutes a sufficient
revision history... at the extreme, is a line saying "v1->v2: fixed
many bugs" legally compliant?! It feels unsatisfying, but what's the
criterion). But if we want to go pure-GPL now, we should either drop
hopes of moving back to EVMPL later, or recognize the road is fraught
with hazards and likely difficulty.

Yours, David...

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Received on Wed Mar 31 23:17:03 2004

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