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Re: [epl-discuss] Concrete suggestions for changes to the EPL


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Jay Alameda

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NCSA Advanced Applications Support Group Lead

National Center for Supercomputing Applications

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign




From: epl-discuss-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:epl-discuss-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Mike Milinkovich
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 3:03 PM
To: epl-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [epl-discuss] Concrete suggestions for changes to the EPL



This email thread has been quiet for quite some time. But Janet and I would like to restart the discussions.

Changing a widely-used license such as the EPL is a big task, and we would like to focus on a narrow set of pragmatic changes. The initial list that we would propose includes:

  • Definition of Derivative Works: Relying on the term "derivative works" as defined in US law has been an issue in a number of scenarios, particularly in Europe. Changing this to a defined term would help be explicit about what we mean. We would recommend using the definition from the ALv2 license, perhaps with an explicit inclusion of sub-classing. The ALv2's approach to defining "Derivative Work" has demonstrably been well accepted by industry and the open source community.

I think this is an excellent idea, as well as the scope reduction in the next point, and removal of ambiguity in the 3rd point.

  • Scope of Copyright License: The applicability of the EPL is restricted to code and documentation, rather than all copyrightable materials.
  • "Module": The use of the term module has been a problem for some. Many seem to prefer the more concrete term "file".
  • Choice of Law: Eclipse has very successful around the world, and particularly in Europe. We have quite a few European research projects which are involved with Eclipse technology. There are many actors in the Eclipse ecosystem who would prefer to see the EPL neutral with regards to a choice of law provision (e.g. "intellectual property laws of the United States of America"). Even in the USA, the choice of New York state law is largely seen as a vestige of IBM's original authorship of the EPL's predecessor license the Common Public License.

I strongly support neutral here, could even be the governing law of the defendant, if such a lawsuit were to become an issue.

  • No Jury Trial: We have had this particular topic come up recently in the context of DoD and US Federal Government procurement policies. We are not aware of any other open source licenses which contain this provision.

Any thoughts or comments?

Thank you for bringing this up again, I’ve advocated for the Eclipse license at my home institution and governing law was the biggest sticking point (even though I’m convinced it is a bit of a phantom issue).

Mike Milinkovich
+1.613.220.3223 (mobile)

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