Re: Revisiting the SPDX license representation syntax

Philippe Ombredanne

On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 10:57 PM, Gisi, Mark <Mark.Gisi@...> wrote:
One basic observation - We need to consider how far one can go in constructing an expression that implies some level of legal interpretation. For instance, in one of your examples you noted:

* gpl-2.0 < mit: I think that the license that applies here is gpl-2.0, despite
being asserted originally as MIT-licensed (possibly because of linking, dependencies, code reuse or else).
One objective might be: To support the construction of license expressions that
represent licensing terms of the pieces that go into building a distributable
component (e.g., program) yet allow different organizations the ability to
apply their legal interpretation. I do realize this is easier said than done.
The intent when I wrote down an example starting with "I think" is to
show where such a syntax could capture eventual interpretations that a
user/adopter of SDPX would want to express.
I am NOT saying that SPDX should provide such interpretation, but that
the system should not prohibit someone else to make these
interpretations and should support capturing these in a
straightforward way.

I see a fair amount of differences among organization in their interpretation
of licensing, especially when multiple licenses are present (as you have illustrated below).
Same, and leaving aside whacko interpretations such as "GPL cannot be
used commercially", there are many grey areas where different
organizations and different counsels may look at things slightly
differently and come to different conclusions based on the same
original materials.

I hope we can encourage others to present situations they believe the current SPDX licensing mechanism does not easily support.

Philippe Ombredanne

+1 650 799 0949 | pombredanne@...
DejaCode Enterprise at
nexB Inc. at

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