GPL Project Watch List for Week of 10/10


Chicago-fire1The GPL v3 Watch List is intended to give you a snapshot of the GPLv3/LGPLv3 adoption for September 26th to October 3rd 2008.

October 10, 1871 – The Great Chicago Fire: Chicago burns after a barn accident. The fire lasts from October 8 to October 10.

 

This Week:

  • Week Summary
  • New Projects
  • Follow up: Jacobsen and US Copyright Law
  • User Contributions

Making Progress
If you haven’t noticed already, we’d like to welcome back a member to our team, Antony Tran. After a brief hiatus, he has agreed to come back on board to help us manage the blog and GPL3 project. Welcome back.

This week our GPL v3 count is at 3237 GPL v3 projects, an increase of 22 GPL v3 projects. The AGPL v3 count is at 181 AGPL v3 projects. The LGPL v3 number is at 345 LGPL v3 projects, an increase of 51 LGPL v3 projects.

New project conversions this week include:

    • Multigrid Contact Detection: libmgcd is a multigrid contact detection (MGCD) library

 

    • euFileUpload: A module to upload files. To be used in web-based applications. Written in PHP

 

  • luckybackup: A powerful, fast and reliable backup & sync tool.


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I wrote about FOSS licenses and U.S. Copyright law back in June, prior to the case of Jacobsen v. Katzer coming out in mid-August:

http://safeview.com/wp431/2008/06/gpl-v3-watch-list-is-intended-to-give.html

To update that post a bit, the Jacobsen decision deserves mention. The case dealt with code licensed under the Artistic License 1.0 which was used in another project without complying with the terms of the license. See the link below on techlawjournal.com for more background. The central question of the case was whether the terms of the license were “conditions” that limited the scope of the copyright license, as opposed to “covenants” which define the terms for the use of the code. The court concluded the terms were “conditions.”

While this may seem insignificant or merely a semantic non-issue, the remedies available for noncompliance with the “condition” of an open source license form the basis of the entire FOSS movement. The significance is that if a “condition” is broken or not followed, the person who broke or did not follow the particular condition is no longer entitled to use of the software under the license terms and such use is therefore copyright infringement. A remedy for copyright infringement is injunctive relief which means the violator can be prevented from further use of the software under the license or be required to follow the conditions if further use is desired.

If a “covenant” is broken or not followed, such violation is considered merely a violation of a contract term, which means the remedy is monetary and *not* injunctive. In that case the violator would still have a license to use the software and would merely have to pay contract damages.

Injunctive relief allows copyright holders who license their works under FOSS licenses to preserve the desired attribution, modification and distribution rights, which protects the openness of the code and preserves the rights of downstream users to have access to the code for research, learning or improvement. Having this decision on the books, with its clear discussion not only of the license in question, but also of the FOSS movement and its benefits, will only help the movement grow.

-Kevin Howard

References:

http://www.lessig.org/blog/2008/08/huge_and_important_news_free_l.html

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We appreciate all the contributions that have been made, either through our form on our web page or by email, and we also like to hear why you are changing your project’s license as in the email above. It gives us more insight into which direction license trends are moving. We will continue to post up user contributions to our blog each week, and we may quote parts of your emails. If you wish the email to remain private, just mention so and we will not disclose any part of it.

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Post your link on the bottom of the blog page.

Send me a note at rdgroup@airius.com that you are using some or all of the content
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Notable Mentionchicago-fire-H

The Research Group actively takes submissions from visitors on updates on new GPL v3/LGPL 3 projects. We are amazed at the number of submissions we have gotten to date, but even more so, we are incredibly grateful to over 100 core contributors who have devoted their time and resources at helping us provide up-to-date information.

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The Research Group (rdgroup@airius.com)

Ernest Park
Edwin Pahk
Antony Tran
Kevin Howard