[sword-devel] Exclusive Rights Granting Crosswire License to Distribute

Andrew Thule thulester at gmail.com
Mon Jan 7 12:29:42 MST 2013

On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 1:44 PM, DM Smith <dmsmith at crosswire.org> wrote:
> Each copyright owner has several fields in the conf that they can fill out
> with that information. Most use the About field. A few use some other
> fields. Consult the module's conf for the information that you want. If it
> is not there then please assume that the owner did not want to share it or
> did not provide it.

It sounds like this process is not dealth with in a formal (meaning legal
agreement) way.  If that's the case the point is no clear terms of use have
been established by the Copyright holder save for distribution which hasn't
actually be defined (legally).

This likely isn't idea from Crosswire's perspective.  You might want to
review this for the sake of formalization.  Since this is the case, I won't
question this further.

> Have I come down hard on you? I know I have been direct and have tried to
> be informative.

No, and you've succeed in your goal.

> We've only been talking about one part of the license agreement: the right
> to re-distribute modules. We think that the DistributionLicense field
> states it very well.

DM, how Crosswire manages its licensing rights should probably be taken
off-line and made internal.  It seems to me you doesn't actually have a
license, or at most a poorly defined one.

If someone were to challenge Crosswire's right to 'distribute' Copyright
text, Crosswire's bum would be better protected by having a license
agreement, which terms (like distribution) defined, not simply an agreement
in principle completed through attributes in a .conf file.

Copyright and 'License to Distribute' are not attributes of configuration
files, they are concepts covered by License agreements, and Law.

> I don't think that is the case. I work on copyright modules and have never
> seen a license agreement. I've never felt the need to see it. I always
> treat a copyrighted work as a confidential, intellectual property to which
> I only have sufficient privileges to do my work on the module. I'm sure
> that I might be going beyond what is required, but I'd rather make that
> mistake than betraying the owner's trust.

Even Open-Source Software is covered by License Agreements.  Surely you've
heard of GNU General Public License (GPL), Apache License 2.0, MIT License.

If you've ever worked on non-Open Source software, you've worked under a
license of somesort or another (whether you saw it or not).  Owners of
intellectual propery, generally don't give up their intellectual propery
rigths so freely.

It may be true you've nevered read the license, but just about all software
is covered under one license or another.  Copyright Work is no different.

> Peter and Chris will have seen those agreements that they have
> participated in obtaining. They have no need to have seen any others.
I'm not doubting Peter and Chris have seen agreements, or the skill with
which they navigate the sensitivies around obtaining permission to
distribute Copyright Text.  Rather, there's debate around whether my
actions (posting a module to my repo) was reasonable.  I'm claiming yes,
given that the details of these agreements are not public.  I assumed that
if Crosswire has the right to distribute a module it has the right to
distsribute a development module.

> Peter has told you privately of at least one that he was able to download.
> Do you want that to be repeated here?

Yes, I have no objection to it being repeated here.  I don't believe I've
received an email privately from Peter, though I'm filtering all SWORD
Developers emails into one folder.  It could have been private, but I
didn't notices.

Regardless, I'm not aware of any modules exclusive to Crosswire that were
available.  I believe mods.d.tar.gz could have falsely reported many as
available which weren't, but no module (should have been) publicly
obtainable, if one had tried (or my security is not up to snuff).

If I've err'd in my security I have nothing to hide.  I invite Peter or
really anyone to let me know of my mistakes.  An error however is not
purposeful, and is correctable.

> We accurately summarize it in the conf. We have explained it here. What is
> hard about understanding that? What more is needed?

The terms of rights and restrictions covered under a Copyright license
however, are elements of the license, not a configuration file.  No court
in the  would accept a .conf file as evidence Crosswire had the right to
distribute Copyright Work.

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