Published on March 13, 2014
Open source licensing Martin von Haller Grønbæk Saturday 8 March 2014
Page 2 Common myths about open source "You cannot use open source software in a proprietary environment [or you will die]" "Open source licences aren't enforceable anyway, so we don't need to worry" "Big companies don't use open source software – it's just for start-ups and hobbyists" "All open source developments have to be made public" "We don't use open source software"
Page 3 OSS – the 4 freedoms 1. The freedom to run the program for any purpose. 2. The freedom to study how the program works and change it so it does your computing as you wish. 3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour. 4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others.
Page 4 The most popular OSS licences Artistic Licence (Perl) GNU LGPL 2.1 GNU LGPL 3.0 GNU GPL 3.0 Apache Code Project Open Licence BSD Licence Eclipse MIT Licence GNU GPL 2.0 93% of open source projects use one of these 10 licences Source: //osrc.blackducksoftware.com/data/licenses/
Proprietary licences v. OSS licences
Page 6 Proprietary licences – typical provisions Licence fee or royalties payable No right to modify No access to source code Some warranties and other protection Restrictions on right to use Restrictions on distribution
Page 7 OSS licences – key concepts ● Still a licence – ownership remains with licensor! ● Scope of licence is not restricted: ● Right to use for any purpose ● No restriction on duration of licence ● No restriction on number of users etc. ● You are entitled to modify the software yourself ● Right to re-distribute the software to any person ● Generally, no warranties as to condition or performance ● Generally, no protection against IPR infringement claims ● No licence fees or royalties payable to the licensor
OSS licences: permissive v. restrictive
Page 9 Permissive licences – some key aspects But not simply public domain! Ability to combine with proprietary software Modifications can remain proprietary Distribute object code version only Minimal restrictions on use Distribute under other licence terms
Page 10 Restrictive licences – some key aspects More complex terms and conditions No obligation to re-distribute Must re-distribute on same licence terms "Viral" effect on proprietary software No restrictions on your own use Source code must be made available
Page 11 The OSS licence spectrum Permissive GPL LGPL Mozilla MIT Apache BSD Strong copyleft Permissive licenses Restrictive Weaker copyleft AGPL
Let's look at some examples …
Page 13 Permissive licences: The beer licence <phk@FreeBSD.ORG> wrote this file. As long as you retain this notice you can do whatever you want with this stuff. If we meet some day, and you think this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a beer in return.
Page 14 Permissive licences: MIT licence Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software … to deal in the software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the software The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the software. THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED … IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY … ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE Grant of broad rights to use, modify etc. Disclaimer of liability by authors Obligation to include copyright notices etc. Note: Licence terms have been edited for these purposes
Page 15 Permissive licences: BSD licence Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that: - Redistributions must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer. - Neither the name of <ORGANIZATION> nor its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission. THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES … ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY … DAMAGES … ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE. Grant of broad rights to use etc. Disclaimer of liability by authors Obligation to include copyright notices etc. Note: Licence terms have been edited for these purposes Non-endorsement obligation
Page 16 Permissive licences: Apache licence Each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no- charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object form. You may … provide additional or different license terms and conditions for use, reproduction, or distribution of Your modifications, or for any such Derivative Works as a whole, provided Your use, reproduction, and distribution of the Work otherwise complies with the conditions stated in this License. Derivative Works shall not include works that remain separable from, or merely link (or bind by name) to the interfaces of, the Work and Derivative Works thereof Broad grant of rights; no obligation to distribute source code Different approach to the "viral" issue Note: Licence terms have been edited for these purposes Explicit that copyleft does not apply
Page 17 GPL v2.0: Copyleft obligations Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it provided that you … keep intact all the notices that refer to this License You may modify your copy of the Program, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work, provided that you also meet all of these conditions: … b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License. Obligation to distribute modifications on GPL terms Right to modify the software Note: Licence terms have been edited for these purposes No restriction on your own use of software Obligation to distribute verbatim copies on GPL terms
Page 18 GPL v2.0: Provision of source code You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it) in object code or executable form under the terms of provided that you also do one of the following: a) accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code which must be distributed under the terms of [Sections 1 and 2 above] on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or b) accompany it with a written offer … to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of [Sections 1 and 2 above] on a medium customarily used for software interchange Applicable to original software and all modifications Written offer to provide source code separately (at minimal cost) Provision of a copy of the source code Note: Licence terms have been edited for these purposes
Page 19 GPL v2.0: the "viral" effect "in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof" We believe that a proper criterion depends both on the mechanism of communication (exec, pipes, rpc, function calls within a shared address space, etc.) and the semantics of the communication (what kinds of information are interchanged). If the modules are included in the same executable file, they are definitely combined in one program. If modules are designed to run linked together in a shared address space, that almost surely means combining them into one program. By contrast, pipes, sockets and command-line arguments are communication mechanisms normally used between two separate programs. So when they are used for communication, the modules normally are separate programs. But if the semantics of the communication are intimate enough, exchanging complex internal data structures, that too could be a basis to consider the two parts as combined into a larger program. The above obligations apply to software that: What is the scope of this?
Page 20 GPL and the "SaaS loophole" To “convey” a work means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or receive copies. Mere interaction with a user through a computer network, with no transfer of a copy, is not conveying. A company is running a modified version of a GPL'ed program on a web site. Does the GPL say they must release their modified sources? The GPL permits anyone to make a modified version and use it without ever distributing it to others. What this company is doing is a special case of that. Therefore, the company does not have to release the modified sources. Does the provision of software on a SaaS basis trigger the GPL obligations? GPL v2.0 GPL v3.0 Affero GPL v3.0 Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, if you modify the Program, your modified version must prominently offer all users interacting with it remotely through a computer network … an opportunity to receive the Corresponding Source of your version. "Distribution" is not defined in GPL v2.0.
Page 21 Open source projects using Apache "Over the course of the last two years the feedback from our users and partners was that while the GPL was a fine license … it did throw up some roadblocks to their participation and use" - CloudStack blog, April 2012
Page 22 Big Data and Open Source
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