Subject: Re: FOR APPROVAL: OZPLB Licence
From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 21:43:40 -0500

ian.oi@bdw.com writes:
 > BLAKE DAWSON WALDRON
 > Lawyers
 > Confidential (see notice below)

Argh.  You look foolish when you send "Confidential" messages to a
public mailing list (see more correction below)

 > licences such as the MPL. None of the pre-existing OSI-certified licences
 > suffices for purposes of NICTA, on their own or combined together, for the
 > following reasons:
 > 
 >          i.  NICTA was formed by the Australian Government's Department of
 > Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and the Australian
 > Research Council, with consortium partners that include the Australian
 > Capital Territory Government, the New South Wales Government, the University
 > of New South Wales, and the Australian National University. NICTA's mission
 > is to be an enduring world-class research institute in Information and
 > Communications Technology that generates national wealth. As such, one of
 > NICTA's objectives (and needs) is to participate in the global open source
 > software (OSS) community whilst, at the same time, taking full advantage of
 > the available legal frameworks.

That is not a reason for you to publish your own license.  It is
simply an explanation of why you want to publish open source code.

 >          ii.  NICTA is generating OSS outputs that require BSD-style
 > licenced distribution both within Australia and internationally. However,
 > whilst the existing OSI-certified BSD variants (including the BSD License)
 > may be sufficient to meet US legal requirements, they do not maximise the
 > legal protection for OSS outputs generated in and distributed from
 > Australia.

Suck it up, mate!  Don't be such a whinger!  For various and multiple
reasons, the C programming language (and its descendant C++) suck
goose eggs.  Any number of improvements have been proposed and
discarded; whole-cloth replacements have been created and disused.
Why?  Because there is a huge value in standardization.  If everybody
uses the same programming language, code can be reused between
projects.  Knowledge of how to program in the language can be reused.
The flaws become well-understood (e.g. buffer overruns) and with care
can be avoided.

Similarly, you can point at all the standard licenses (BSD, GPL, LGPL)
and find flaws in them.  For you, it's the disclaimer.  For other
people it's the presence of any disclaimer at all.  And yet most
projects are licensed under one of these three licenses, and good it
is too.

 >          iv.  NICTA's intention is to permit the OZPLB to be adopted by
 > other entities who wish to distribute OSS in similar circumstances. This
 > intention is consistent with NICTA's mission and objectives as described
 > above. OSI certification of the OZPLB will assist in promoting the OZPLB for
 > this purpose. 

Okay, but what happens when a use of the license specifies that it's
governed by the laws of Outer Bumkiss, Australia.

Better to say: "If the laws of Australia apply to you, you must abide
by the terms of the following license.  If not, you must abide by the
terms of the BSD License; see attachment A."

That would let contributors who aren't in Australia combine the
software with BSD-licensed code in such a way that only Australians
are affected.  It's an inheritive license, but it's at least one that
doesn't proliferate licenses for anybody but Australians.  Australians
would be affected by the bare BSD anyway because the terms that are
added are terms of art in Australia (presuming all the time that your
assertions about Australian law are correct; I wouldn't presume
otherwise.)

 > NOTICE
 > This email and any attachments are confidential.

No, it's not.  You gave up any right to confidentiality when you sent
it to a public mailing list.  You can't both publish something and
successfully claim that it is confidential at the same time.

 > This notice should not be removed.

I removed it.  Deal.

-- 
--My blog is at angry-economist.russnelson.com  | Freedom means allowing
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | people to do things the
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315-323-1241 cell  | majority thinks are
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 212-202-2318 VOIP  | stupid, e.g. take drugs.