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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: OpenOffice & LibreOffice - That's Not What Re-Licensing Is
Date Mon, 06 Jun 2011 02:03:19 GMT
If you remove the ALv2 license and don't provide the notice that the license requires, you
are in violation and are infringing the Apache copyright.   Likewise, adding a copyright notice
to an intact public domain work is not a claim that is defensible.

There's a misunderstanding about relicensing in this discussion, and I have been guilty of
it in my casual use of the term as well.

You can't relicense the copyright on something that is not your work and to which you do not
have a grant of copyright.  It is not possible to legally usurp a copyright and nothing in
ALv2 permits that (since it is *not* a copyright transfer, it is a license).

What the ALv2 (I am practicing this form as part of being kept after school to clean erasers)
does is permit incorporation in derivative works, compilations, combined works, etc., without
limitation.  But *your* license covers only the part that is your work.  The material sourced
under the ALv2, to the extent that it remains, is still under the ALv2, although licensed
to you and sublicensed to the recipients of your work.  In short, you can never legally claim
copyright of that which is not your work unless you have been granted a copyright transfer.
 The ALv2 doesn't do that.  The ALv2 is generous in how you can use that work in conjunction
with yours and also licenses other exclusive rights of copyright owners that give you great
freedom of use.  But claiming copyright and substituting your own license is not OK.
When LO incorporates any of the Apache code, it will have to treat it like
third-party code the way it does now for material under compatible licenses from other third
parties.  This is the same thing that IBM would have to do (if they have no other license
that they can rely on from Sun or Oracle), and certainly what Microsoft or Google would have
to do.

The sense in which re-licensing applies here is that, so long as everything is compatible,
the derivative can be under any license whatsoever, and distributed in any manner whatsoever,
so long as the non-negotiable conditions of ALv2 are honored (and hence the license is honored).
 Similarly, if the producer of the derivative decides to change their license, but everything
is still compatible, the ALv2 is no obstacle to that.  That is what the "re-licensing" opportunity
is.  It would be great if there were a better term for this.  But the key thing is the ALv2
code is not relicensed, but the work it is combined into, derivative in, compiled in, whatever,
can be produced with a different license and that license can be changed by someone who has
that right.

Furthermore, and don't confuse this with re-licensing, even though the code is used in a proprietary
product, it does not make the ALv2-licensed portions the property of the producer.  What the
ALv2 does is give that producer a license to their doing that with the ALv2 subject matter
and not requiring that their source code be made public and with no obligation to contribute
back to Apache.

I guess my next after-school will be cleaning erasers for Larry Rosen.

 - Dennis

PS: This is why it is also important for projects to manage the provenance of every bit of
their code, because third-party licenses still adhere to the extent that is required.  It
also helps defend against claims that such-and-such code was plagiarized in a manner that
violated some other license that the same or similar code can be found wrapped in.

PPS: That is also why one should read the freakin' ALv2 license at the provided link and not
take advice from Wikipedia.  The language of the license is plain enough.

-----Original Message-----
From: Keith Curtis [] 
Sent: Sunday, June 05, 2011 17:18
Subject: Re: OpenOffice & LibreOffice

[ ... ]

The redistribution terms only have to be respected until I relicense the code. That can be
done via grep.


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