Skip to main content

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index] [List Home]
Re: [epl-discuss] EPL Revisions

On 2017-03-16 6:47 PM, Berg, Paul W wrote:
Please forgive me if these have been addressed, but this is my first time looking at this in depth. And also, I am not a lawyer, so please forgive any legal ignorance I may display.

All perfectly good questions and comments. This is the level of detail and specificity we need to get to in order to finalize the license.

Comment MM5: The modified works definition is IMHO one of the most critical portions of the document to get right because it defines the extent of the Copyleft. I'm thinking that "contains any contents of the Program." may need clarification for languages that must include forward declarations of type (C Header files for instance). Should this have a clarifying clause such as:

"Modified Works shall not include works that contain only declarations of interfaces, types, classes, structures, or files of the Program in order to link (or bind by name) to the program."

Just out of curiousity, did you delete the reference to subclassing on purpose?

As a lapsed software engineer, I understand that subclassing is implied in your text. However, this is one topic that I really want to ensure we are utterly explicit on. Does anyone find the following objectionable?
Modified Works shall not include works that:
(i) remain separable from the Program and Modified Works thereof, or
(ii) merely contain declarations of interfaces, types, classes, structures, or files of the Program in order to link, bind by name, or subclass the Program and Modified Works thereof.
Question: the above suggestion and the current draft both say "Program and Modified Works thereof". Should that be an or?

Comment MM7: I think this may be an important clause. As a specific example, if a subroutine written in Verilog is licensed under the EPL and that subroutine is combined into a larger system that defines a chip die, and that is then used to fabricate actual chips, then the hardware form of the EPL module in the combined chip is no longer separable, so it might be argued that the physical chip is now under the EPL (if the chip is a sculpture... and all the headaches going down that legal argument). The EPL may be very ill defined if applied to physical hardware and I don't think it is the intent of the EPL to try to govern that. Specifically calling out that the EPL never applies to hardware is a good way to avoid the whole mess in my opinion.

Clearly, it is not the intent of the EPL to govern hardware. The best discussion I have seen on the "hardware per se" topic was in license review a little over a year ago, in the context of McCoy Smith's "BSD+Patent License".  Check out the thread that starts at [1]. There he cites two concerns with leaving it in that license:
  1. It might be a GPL compatibility issue.
  2. It is somewhat ambiguous in scope.

FWIW, I would point out that as currently constructed, the piece of hardware that you have described is clearly Executable Code, and could therefore be licensed under terms other than the EPL. On the other hand, I am not sure that helps much when you're actually trying to sell a piece of hardware, rather than license software.


Section 3.1b: The removal of the original section iii would seem to disallow the distributor to include any warrantees or indemnifications in a compiled work. Sections i and ii both force the distributor to give up all liabilities, including their own, and there doesn't seem to be a way for the distributor to then take liability unto themselves alone. I think that this may conflict directly with section 4 as a result.

Hmm. IANAL either, but I wonder if the remaining section i and ii could be improved by saying "...on behalf of all other Contributors..."? I agree that as currently worded it seems to be telling the distributor what their own license must say, which is odd.

Mike Milinkovich
+1.613.220.3223 (mobile)

Back to the top