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From Sergio Fernández <>
Subject Re: LICENSE/NOTICE revisited (was Release Apache Marmotta 3.0.0-incubating (RC8))
Date Tue, 23 Apr 2013 07:31:59 GMT
Hi Marvin,

thanks for your time analysing our release. Please, find my reply inline.

On 18/04/13 02:30, Marvin Humphrey wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM, Sebastian Schaffert  wrote:
>> - The section "NOTICE file" in [3] says that "The NOTICE file may also
>>    include copyright notices moved from source files submitted to the ASF".
>>    The 3rd party Javascript files we include are "submitted to the ASF", but
>>    they are often under MIT license and therefore category A in [2]. If I
>>    read the document correctly, category A only requires to include notices
>>    if a NOTICE file is contained in the product. According to [1], MIT and
>>    New BSD even can have a reduced entry in LICENSE. [4] says, however, that
>>    "All the licenses on all the files to be included within a package should
>>    be included in the LICENSE document. "
> Here's Roy Fielding, ASF Board member and author of the Apache License 2.0:
>      Pointers are sufficient.
> Roy elaborates here:
>      By pointers, I mean a relative path reference to the license file within
>      some subdirectory of the package being redistributed.

Right this would make the LICENCE files shorter. So, if I understood 
correctly, we should switch from licenses text to pointers, something like:

For the D3.js component,

     located at: path/to/foo/

     Copyright (c) 2013 Foo Author,

     License at: path/to/foo/LICENSE

Would be that fine?

>> - for dependencies of category B, [2] specifies that "Although the source
>>    must not be included in Apache products, the NOTICE file, which is
>>    required to be included in each ASF distribution, must point to the source
>>    form of the included binary (more on that in the forthcoming "Receiving
>>    and Releasing Contributions" document).", a fact that is not mentioned in
>>    any of the other documents.
> This passage has somehow escaped my notice until now.  Based on my
> understanding about the origins of the NOTICE file, it does not ring true.  It
> seems to me that what works for category A should also work for category B:
> reference/quote the license in LICENSE and address mandatory attribution
> requirements in NOTICE.  The goal is to satisfy the licensing requirements of
> the dependency, not to give credit -- so IMO linking only makes sense if
> that's a requirement of the dependency's license.

So keep in NOTICE only those which require additional attribution 

> Does anybody know any TLPs that are actually following the advice to link to
> source for category B dependencies in binary NOTICE files?

Not sure if it is what you are looking, but we are doing it in a quite 
similar way that CouchDB, since they have a quite similar setup. See its 

> I suspect we will want to bring this up on legal-discuss and see if we can't
> get that recommendation removed.
>> - The labelling requirement "source access" in [2] requires that the NOTICE
>>    file contains pointers to the location of the source code for any 3rd
>>    party library that is bundled in a binary distribution (not only category
>>    B). [1] on the other hand does not mention this requirement and says that
>>    everything that is not legally necessary does not belong into NOTICE.
> Here's Roy again:
>      Hey, I'm all for people having opinions on development and credits and
>      documentation. NOTICE and LICENSE are none of those. They are not open to
>      anyone's opinions other than the copyright owners that require such
>      notices, and they must not be added where they are not required. Each
>      additional notice places a burden on the ASF and all downstream
>      redistributors.
>      Please, folks, I am not even a Sling committer. I am speaking as the
>      author of the Apache License. Don't screw with what I have changed. I have
>      way more experience in these matters than everyone else at the ASF
>      combined. If you put stuff in NOTICE that is not legally required to be
>      there, I will remove it as an officer of the ASF. If you add it back in, I
>      will have to duplicate the effort of removing it again. That will not make
>      me a happy camper.
> It seems that we might want to make the language in the licensing howto
> similarly scary in order to dissuade people from adding unnecessary copyright
> notices to NOTICE. ;)


> First, if the Incubator can make this task formulaic, success will be more
> predictable and achievable for individual podlings.

Actually now it is not, at least from my point of view. Too many 
subjective opinions open a huge window for potential errors.

> Second, there is not exactly one right way to handle licensing, but it is
> costly to debate the merits of legitimate alternatives.  We'll all be better
> off if we can find one way that works and stick to it.

We understand that. Every single project has concrete details that need 
to be addressed. But similar project should have something in common, 
that's what we thought.

> Third, if you get complaints about your RC, you can blame the howto. :)

We blame ourselves ;-)

> If Solr's NOTICE file came through the Incubator today, it would be rejected.


> Perhaps I should go provide a patch to Solr.  But I have a question -- if
> Solr's NOTICE had been empty, would you have kept looking at TLP NOTICE files
> until you found one that had the examples you were looking for?

True :-)

> The word "notice" doesn't have one specific legal definition which applies in
> all contexts.  It's going to depend on what all those wonderfully diverse
> licenses out there require. :P
> Nevertheless, perhaps this paraphrase of Roy helps to illustrate the kind of
> thing that goes in NOTICE:
>      While at ApacheCon NA 2013 in Portland, I buttonholed Roy and asked him to
>      expand on this comment. Here is my understanding of his answer, phrased as
>      an FAQ entry:
>      --
>      What are the historical motivations behind the NOTICE file?
>      The NOTICE file serves several purposes, but the primary reason for
>      separating NOTICE out of LICENSE in the Apache License 2.0 was to preserve
>      the attribution requirement spelled out in section 3 of the Apache License
>      1.1 in a way that would otherwise have been incompatible with the GPL.
>      When carried by the LICENSE, the attribution language constitutes an
>      additional requirement which conflicts with the GPL. However, when carried
>      by the optional NOTICE file instead of the license, the attribution
>      requirement does not conflict with the GPL because the GPL requires the
>      preservation of notices even when it subsumes all other licenses.
>      --
>> For example, if I understand correctly, the Apache License, when
>> used by 3rd party libraries, always requires notice. How can I see whether
>> other licenses also require this notice? As an example, consider the MIT
>> license. It explicitly says "The above copyright notice and this permission
>> notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the
>> Software.". Does this mean that a copyright notice must go into the NOTICE
>> file (under guiding principle number 4 I would read it like "yes")? If so,
>> then there is a contradiction with [1].
> Well, the licensing howto contains this passage...
>      However, elements such as the copyright notifications embedded within BSD
>      and MIT licenses need not be duplicated in NOTICE -- it suffices to leave
>      those notices in their original locations.
> ... which also links to the two LEGAL Jira issues where that recommendation
> was hashed out.
> But that _still_ wasn't enough to keep those duplicated copyright notices out
> of Marmotta's NOTICE. :)

I think now I see it more clear...

>> Thanks for checking, BTW. From your point of view, is the NOTICE and
>> LICENSE we have for Marmotta too extensive?
> Most of those duplicated copyright lines in NOTICE are not necessary and
> should be removed.

Agree now.

> Pointers would have sufficed for the extra licenses in LICENSE, but verbatim
> copies are acceptable.
> I didn't review the binary redistributions, nor did I run RAT, nor did I
> verify that only bundled dependencies were represented in LICENSE and NOTICE.
> I figured it was more important to get this reply out rather than delay it
> further in order to perform a comprehensive review.

Before properly reviewing the binary releases, in the PPMC we are 
discussing if such details we are discussing are something that MUST be 
fixed, or just something we SHOULD improve in upcoming releases. This is 
something I personally  don't have clear now. Of course, we'll be wiling 
to fix whatever it is necessary; but at the same time we need to move on 
and continue working and improving the project.

Thanks so much for your support!


Sergio Fernández
Salzburg Research
+43 662 2288 318
Jakob-Haringer Strasse 5/II
A-5020 Salzburg (Austria)

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