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Old 07-07-2011, 02:02 AM
Adam Williamson
 
Default Fedora Board Recap 07-06-2011

On Wed, 2011-07-06 at 16:48 -0400, Richard Fontana wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 07, 2011 at 12:49:11AM +0530, Rahul Sundaram wrote:
> > On 07/06/2011 11:52 PM, Jon Stanley wrote:
> > > *** In the US, at least, there's only minimal rights associated with
> > > things that have no license, therefore, we would be on shakey legal
> > > grounds if we accepted contributions without license terms
> >
> > Yet this routinely happens. Patches contributed via bugzilla or ones
> > that contributors pick from mailing lists etc.
>
> I think there may be some confusion on this one particular
> point. Something can be licensed even if it doesn't have an explicit
> license notice on it. Implicit licensing is pervasive in free software
> development.

Is there some kind of solid legal basis for this opinion? It seems
speculative. Has it been established definitively that, say, a patch
sent to the mailing list of a well-established F/OSS project definitely
has an implicit license? I think a lot of us operate under that
assumption (though we probably don't think about it too much), but it
strikes me as the kind of thing a court might have different thoughts
about.
--
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Fedora Talk: adamwill AT fedoraproject DOT org
http://www.happyassassin.net

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Old 07-07-2011, 03:12 AM
Richard Fontana
 
Default Fedora Board Recap 07-06-2011

On Wed, Jul 06, 2011 at 07:02:33PM -0700, Adam Williamson wrote:
> On Wed, 2011-07-06 at 16:48 -0400, Richard Fontana wrote:
> > I think there may be some confusion on this one particular
> > point. Something can be licensed even if it doesn't have an explicit
> > license notice on it. Implicit licensing is pervasive in free software
> > development.
>
> Is there some kind of solid legal basis for this opinion? It seems
> speculative. Has it been established definitively that, say, a patch
> sent to the mailing list of a well-established F/OSS project definitely
> has an implicit license?

Not in the sense that there's been, say, US case law on that specific
fact pattern. However, the doctrine of implied license is well
established in US copyright law.

- RF




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Old 07-07-2011, 06:24 AM
Adam Williamson
 
Default Fedora Board Recap 07-06-2011

On Wed, 2011-07-06 at 23:12 -0400, Richard Fontana wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 06, 2011 at 07:02:33PM -0700, Adam Williamson wrote:
> > On Wed, 2011-07-06 at 16:48 -0400, Richard Fontana wrote:
> > > I think there may be some confusion on this one particular
> > > point. Something can be licensed even if it doesn't have an explicit
> > > license notice on it. Implicit licensing is pervasive in free software
> > > development.
> >
> > Is there some kind of solid legal basis for this opinion? It seems
> > speculative. Has it been established definitively that, say, a patch
> > sent to the mailing list of a well-established F/OSS project definitely
> > has an implicit license?
>
> Not in the sense that there's been, say, US case law on that specific
> fact pattern. However, the doctrine of implied license is well
> established in US copyright law.

But that's the *concept* of an implied license, right? Not its
applicability (ew) to any particular set of circumstances that commonly
occurs in the F/OSS world?
--
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Fedora Talk: adamwill AT fedoraproject DOT org
http://www.happyassassin.net

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Old 07-08-2011, 05:36 AM
Matt Clark
 
Default Fedora Board Recap 07-06-2011

No, there's no such thing as an implicit license. A work is implicitly copyrighted the moment it is written, and, by default, no one has a legal "right" (differentiate from permission) to redistribute it, or produce derived works from it (of course, the author might not mind, but that's another matter entirely). In other words, lack of license is roughly the same as "look but don't touch" license. �

If something is "unlicensed but copyrighted" unless specified (as all unlicensed material is as soon as it is written) then it is up to the kindness of the author. �I wish it were simpler, too.

On Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 4:48 PM, Richard Fontana <rfontana@redhat.com> wrote:

On Thu, Jul 07, 2011 at 12:49:11AM +0530, Rahul Sundaram wrote:

> On 07/06/2011 11:52 PM, Jon Stanley wrote:

> > *** In the US, at least, there's only minimal rights associated with

> > things that have no license, therefore, we would be on shakey legal

> > grounds if we accepted contributions without license terms

>

> Yet this routinely happens. �Patches contributed via bugzilla or ones

> that contributors pick from mailing lists etc.



I think there may be some confusion on this one particular

point. Something can be licensed even if it doesn't have an explicit

license notice on it. Implicit licensing is pervasive in free software

development.



We use the term of art "Unlicensed" in the FPCA, but, if you imagine a

world where the FPCA isn't used *and* Rahul's mandatory explicit

licensing alternative isn't adopted, Fedora contributions are still

licensed even when they don't have license notices on them. And those

Bugzilla patches or mailing list patches from non-FAS people are

licensed too. In the FPCA, "Unlicensed" just means "doesn't have an

explicit license notice"; it doesn't mean unlicensed.



Arguably, a benefit of the FPCA is that in a large number of cases

that might otherwise be governed by implicit licensing, there is an

understanding that an explicit license has been granted by the

contributor, so there is total clarity about the terms governing the

contribution. I think that must be the point the Board was really

trying to make. This may also lead to additional benefits which I have

heard spot articulate. But most projects deal with implicit licensing

to some degree or other, including Fedora.



- RF



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Old 07-09-2011, 09:30 PM
Richard Fontana
 
Default Fedora Board Recap 07-06-2011

On Wed, Jul 06, 2011 at 11:24:26PM -0700, Adam Williamson wrote:
> On Wed, 2011-07-06 at 23:12 -0400, Richard Fontana wrote:
> > On Wed, Jul 06, 2011 at 07:02:33PM -0700, Adam Williamson wrote:
> > > On Wed, 2011-07-06 at 16:48 -0400, Richard Fontana wrote:
> > > > I think there may be some confusion on this one particular
> > > > point. Something can be licensed even if it doesn't have an explicit
> > > > license notice on it. Implicit licensing is pervasive in free software
> > > > development.
> > >
> > > Is there some kind of solid legal basis for this opinion? It seems
> > > speculative. Has it been established definitively that, say, a patch
> > > sent to the mailing list of a well-established F/OSS project definitely
> > > has an implicit license?
> >
> > Not in the sense that there's been, say, US case law on that specific
> > fact pattern. However, the doctrine of implied license is well
> > established in US copyright law.
>
> But that's the *concept* of an implied license, right? Not its
> applicability (ew) to any particular set of circumstances that commonly
> occurs in the F/OSS world?

I suppose, but there's no reason why it wouldn't apply to FOSS.

- RF

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