JBoss stalled (was Re: status of some packages ??)

Tom "spot" Callaway tcallawa at redhat.com
Thu Jun 3 19:52:18 UTC 2010

On 06/03/2010 03:24 PM, Alex Hudson wrote:
> That's not the argument I'm putting forward.
> The "French cannot waive copyright" argument brings you to the
> conclusion you stated; "[The license] is not valid, we can't use it".
> That same argument holds, as far as I can see, for every other
> distributor.

Yes, but what Red Hat (or every other distributor) does aside from
Fedora is not my responsibility.

> So effectively we're arguing that everyone else, Red Hat included, is
> either oblivious to the legal risk or they looked at it and came to the
> wrong conclusion. All of them.

More likely is that they did not look, or they are unaware of the
complexities around Public Domain.

> I'm not saying that's true one way or another, but it would seem to me
> that at least getting a second opinion would be worthwhile, because
> Fedora's legal resource appears to be making some pretty extraordinary
> claims.

They're not so extraordinary, and yes, I did get second and third
opinions on this. In Europe, the idea of moral rights and the inherent
conflict with Public Domain declarations (where a copyright holder
explicitly abandons copyright) is well known. As I have pointed out,
this is one of the main reasons why the CC-0 license was drafted, to
provide the same functional intended end result of a Public Domain
declaration (users can do whatever they want with it) while avoiding the
conflict of moral rights (except as it would conflict with the moral
rights of the copyright holder).

The fact that the Creative Commons created a license _explicitly_ to
work around this issue provides proof that this issue is legitimate and

> And if it is true, I would bet there are significantly more problems
> that aopalliance, since there are very few [no] licenses which deal with
> EUisms like moral rights, database rights, etc...

Not so much. Public Domain declarations are special. Normal FOSS
licenses don't hit this, because they are a list of what rights you have
for the works they cover. A Public Domain declaration is the abandonment
of all copyright, and accordingly, the ability for anyone to do
_ANYTHING_ with that work. It isn't even a license.

The fact that Public Domain declarations are possible in some
jurisdictions (including the United States) further confuses this,
because if the aopalliance copyright holders were American instead of
French, we would not have this problem. Arguably, someone with a limited
understanding of the complexities around Public Domain declarations
might see the words "in the Public Domain" and just assume everything
was kosher. We know better, and we check all Public Domain declarations
extra carefully. Which is how we caught it.


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