Re: BSD Licenses
David A. Wheeler
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A few points:
* I like the idea of the specific ‘BSD-4-Clause-UC’, so that people can know that it’s actually been relicensed. One caveat: the SPDX material documenting this license should document why this has a separate entry (e.g., reference the letter with date that does the relicense).
* I think the term “copyright holder” and “copyright owner” is exactly the same, they should not be distinguished.
From: spdx-legal-bounces@... [mailto:spdx-legal-bounces@...] On Behalf Of Tom Incorvia
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 9:56 AM
Cc: Jilayne Lovejoy
Subject: RE: BSD Licenses
A follow-up on the information below based on discussions on the March 7, 2012 legal call.
Recommendation: Add two new BSD licenses to the SPDX license list: BSD-4-Clause-UC and BSD-2-Clause-NetBSD. Details below.
- Is the trailing statement in the FreeBSD license, “The views and conclusions contained in the software and documentation are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing official policies, either expressed or implied, of the FreeBSD Project”, a requirement for a match on the BSD-2-Clause, or do we need to establish a separate license, “BSD-2-Clause-FreeBSD”?
- Is an exact match of “copyright holder” v “copyright owner” required?
Regarding adding 2 BSD licenses to the list: below are the proposals and compares
1. Add a new BSD-4-Clause License:
- License Identifier: “BSD-4-Clause-UC”
- Full Name: “BSD-4-Clause (University of California-Specific)
- Tools Definition: a license is identified as “BSD-4-Clause-UC” if both of the conditions below are met:
o The non-templated text matches the BSD-4-Clause AND
o The copyright holder is equal to “The Regents of the University of California”
- License text: attachment 1
- Exemption text: attachment 2 (included for reference -- there is NOT a requirement that the exemption text be present or matched in the identification process – the exemption text is virtually never present in the license)
- For reference: below is the comparison of the SPDX BSD-4-Clause with the proposed SPDX BSD-4-Clause-UC:
2. Add a new BSD-2-Clause License:
- License Identifier: “BSD-2-Clause-NetBSD”
- Full Name: “BSD-2-Clause (NetBSD)
- Tools Definition: a license is identified as “BSD-2-Clause-NetBSD” if the non-templated text matches attachment 3, “BSD-2-Clause-NetBSD”
- Note: the non-templated text of the BSD-2-Clause-NetBSD is identical to the BSD-2-Clause other than the addition of the statement “This code is derived from software contributed to the NetBSD Foundation by”.
- For reference: below is the comparison of the SPDX BSD-2-Clause with the proposed SPDX BSD-2-Clause-NetBSD:
- License text: attachment 3
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From: Tom Incorvia
Hello SPDX-Legal Team,
On the last call, I offered to take a new look at the BSD licenses in the SPDX list, including the possibility of including additional BSD licenses.
3. Add a new BSD-4-Clause (UC) license
4. Discuss how to deal with minor BSD text differences such as:
o “copyright holder” v “copyright owner”
o The addition of the words “or contributors” / “and contributors” to no-warranty section
5. Consider other “BSD-like” only if commonly used and vetted
Level Set: below are some bullet points from the mid-2010 discussion that outlines how we came to agree on the current long and short names:
- The key issue that we tried to address was that the BSD licenses were inconsistently referred to with adjectives including “Original”, “New”, “Old”, “Modified”, “Simplified” and “Free”
- Further, these adjectives were also often combined inconsistently or outright incorrectly causing additional confusion
- We agreed on the number of clauses as the key identifier for the short names. The long names were a compromise designed to retain as much of the naming “lineage” as possible, but yet have the names be distinct
- The long names chosen reflected the most consistent historic use of the various licenses. The only exception was that “New and Simplified” was NOT used in the long name for the BSD-2-Clause. This combination, although correct, was routinely stated incorrectly or incompletely, thus obscuring whether the license was the “New” (3-clause) or “Simplified FreeBSD” (2-Clause).
- The current SPDX BSD license Identifier and Full Names are as follows:
o Identifier: BSD-4-Clause; Full Name: BSD 4-Clause “Original” or “Old” License
o Identifier: BSD-3-Clause; Full Name: BSD 3-Clause “New” or “Revised” License
o Identifier: BSD-2-Clause; Full Name: BSD 2-Clause “Simplified” or “FreeBSD” License
Proposal for new SPDX BSD License: BSD-4-Clause (UC): on the previous SPDX Legal call, Michael Herzog noted that the original BSD (4-Clause) license, when the copyright is the Regents of the University of California, is actually now effectively the BSD-3-Clause due to retroactive deletion of the third clause of the Original BSD license for BSD-licensed code developed by UC Berkeley and its contributors.
Below is the text from the original July 22, 1999 message from William Hoskins, Director, Office of Technology Licensing, University of California, Berkeley
July 22, 1999
To All Licensees, Distributors of Any Version of BSD:
As you know, certain of the Berkeley Software Distribution ("BSD") source code files require that further distributions of products containing all or portions of the software, acknowledge within their advertising materials that such products contain software developed by UC Berkeley and its contributors.
Specifically, the provision reads:
3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement: This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors."
Effective immediately, licensees and distributors are no longer required to include the acknowledgement within advertising materials. Accordingly, the foregoing paragraph of those BSD Unix files containing it is hereby deleted in its entirety.
Director, Office of Technology Licensing
University of California, Berkeley
Proposal: add a BSD license entry to the SPDX license list for this UC-specific version of the license as follows:
- License Identifier: “BSD-4-Clause (UC)”
- Full Name: “BSD-4-Clause (University of California-Specific) “Original” or “Old” License
When tools match BSD-4-Clause WITH “Regents of the University of California” somewhere between “Copyright” and “All rights reserved”, then that license is flagged as BSD-4-Clause (UC). As long as it is identified as distinct, follow-on “smart” tooling will be able to treat this as a distinct license with different grants (the license becomes the BSD-3-Clause in terms of grants). There would not be a requirement to match the July 22, 1999 Berkeley statement, since this statement is virtually never included as part of the license.
Below is a compare of the BSD-4-Clause as posted on SPDX and the proposed BSD-4-Clause (UC):
Hopefully we’ll have some tooling representation on the call to assess the practicality of identification of this license based on how the template is filled in.
Separately, below are some comparisons of the current SPDX BSD license texts with versions on the OSI site and Wikipedia. Although the differences are minor, we will need to consider how to handle the use of “copyright holder” v “copyright owner”, and the addition of the words “or contributors” / “and contributors” in some of the licenses depending on the text that is selected by the user.
- BSD-4-Clause is not an OSI license
- SPDX and Wikipedia versions are an exact match
- Some other versions of the license template (for instance, fedora) include “and contributors” in the no-warranty section.
- For discussion, does the inclusion of “and contributors” constitute a mismatch, and require a full text listing of the license, or will the be considered equivalent?
- SPDX and OSI versions are an exact match
- The Wikipedia version does not have the words “or contributors” in the warranty disclaimer section.
- For discussion: will the inclusion or exclusion of “or contributors” constitute a mismatch, and require a full text listing of the license, or will the be considered equivalent?
- SPDX and OSI versions are an exact match
- Wikipedia uses the term “copyright owner” rather than “copyright holder” in the no-warranty section
- For discussion, will “copyright owner” v “copyright holder” kick this out at a mismatch, and require a full text listing of the license?
There are many other BSD variants. Below is a sample, the NetBSD license. The NetBSD license adds the statement, “This code is derived from software contributed to the NetBSD Foundation by”.
Since this statement, and the substantial variety of other statements that are included in “BSD-Like” licenses are not in any way standard, I recommend that these be a mismatch, and require a listing of the full text.
However, any BSD license that is or becomes sufficiently common would be included in the SPDX list following whatever vetting process is put in place for new licenses.
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