Copyright arrangements for a web project

Eitan Adler lists at
Thu Dec 12 16:20:24 UTC 2013

On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM, Ian Jackson
<ijackson at> wrote:
> * It would clearly be sensible to appoint a licence steward in the
>   GPLv3 sense.  If the current project leadership lack free software
>   credibility, could SPI serve as licence steward ?

On this I can not comment.

>   What instructions/directions would SPI take ?  The goal would have
>   to include the SPI Board making the value judgement, not just
>   deferring to the project's leadership - that is, the SPI Board would
>   make the decision itself in what it sees as the interests of the
>   project and the free software community.

>   Ideally it would be good to avoid requiring copyright assignment to
>   the licence steward.  Can this be achieved by some text in the
>   standard licence rubric eg.

While I understand the value of "or later" clauses, these gives a very
broad degree of power.  They allow an entity other than the author to
change the requirements under which the software may be used.  I'd be
wary, but would not object entirely.

>     This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or
>     modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as
>     published by the Free Software Foundation, version 3, or (at your
>     option) any other general public free software licence publicly
>     endorsed for PROJECT by Software in the Public Interest Inc
>     (i.e. SPI is a proxy as described in s14 of the GNU GPLv3 but SPI
>     is not limited to endorsing only future versions of the GNU GPL).

It is my understanding that one would not be allowed to modify the GPL
preamble because it falls under the copyrighted text.  One may be
allowed to add a preamble to the entirety of the GPL.

> * Personally I'm an AGPLv3 proponent.  The system ought to be suitable
>   for AGPLv3 provided that its submodules are AGPLv3-compatible (and
>   if they aren't, then we can probably write a licence exception).
>   (The main program I'm thinking of here is a Ruby on Rails
>   application.)  What are people's feelings about AGPLv3 ?

It is the least-free license currently approved by the OSI.

Eitan Adler

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