Subject: Re: Adaptive Public License
From: "Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M." <>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 21:12:58 -0400

It sounds as if you are attempting both to control the distribution of your
license along with your software package and to control the distribution of
the license as adapted for others; this is rather strange to me.

I think there are, generally, three approaches to drafting open source
licenses: you draft a license for a specific open source project regardless
of whether someone else may want to use the license as a template, you draft
a license for a project and/or that is well-suited to be used by others as a
template (e.g., OSL v.2.0), or you adopt a license that already exists on
the basis that it meets your needs and that its popularity or well-known
status signals its terms to many open source users (e.g., GNU GPL). I do not
see the Adaptive Public License fitting the last category since the license
is adaptive; in other words, its terms will vary. Nearly any license can be
a template so I am unsure why an "adaptive" license is needed. Consequently,
it may make better sense to focus the drafting of your license on your
software package and the needs of your business model, and leave the
adapting to those who adapt.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carmen Leeming" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2004 4:50 PM
Subject: Adaptive Public License

: The way the Adaptive Public License is set up, only the Initial
: Contributor sets the terms outlined in Exhibit A (all the adaptive
: elements).  Subsequent Contributors may not alter the variables outlined
: by the Initial Contributor.  However, Subsequent Contributors are not
: bound by those terms if they package their work as an Independent
: Module.  An Independent Module may be released under a different license
: (including a variation of the Adaptive Public License with a different
: Exhibit A).
: In regards to combining different variants of the Adaptive Public
: License, yes the combined licenses can be severable.  One of the
: licenses needs to be continued as the Initial Work -- subsequent
: contributions would follow this license (unless they are Independent
: Modules).  The other work(s) being combined can be identified as
: Independent Module(s), retaining their original variants of the
: license.  In a similar manner, an Initial Work with the Adaptive Public
: License can be combined with other open source (or closed source)
: licenses without absorbing contributions to the separately-licensed
: Independent Modules.
: I know that this license is very long, but it is difficult to summarize
: parts of it without losing the overall integrity of the document as
: various parts are interrelated.  The third paragraph in my submission
: letter
: is the briefest way I can summarize the differences between the Adaptive
: Public License and the MPL 1.1.  Although that is the closest license to
: this one, the Adaptive Public License was not directly derived from the
: MPL -- it is not simply a matter of a few differing paragraphs.
: There is no existing license that contains all of the features that we
: require for our project:  able to have the governing jurisdiction in
: Canada; able to have the main work as open source, but well-defined
: separate modules as closed source or under a different open source
: license; not being forced to have a patent license; able to define our
: own set of documentation requirements; allowing limited attribution
: requirements for the Initial Contributor.  This license was not
: developed for the sake of adding to the proliferation of licenses.  The
: University of Victoria has spent close to four years developing a large
: software package that it would like to be able to share with the open
: source community.  The University was not willing to release the
: software under one of the existing licenses as none of them could
: provide all of the features listed above.  We spent a year working with
: a license lawyer developing the Adaptive Public License to meet the
: requirements of the University.  We purposely did not brand the license
: with our name or our project title so the license could be useful to
: others.  We have had others inquire about using our license for their
: software products, and there was a comment on this forum in March that
: indicated support for use too, so we know that this is not a one-time
: application of the license.
: Please let me know if you have any further questions.
: Thank you,
: --Carmen Leeming
: University of Victoria
: --
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