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From: David Abrahams (dave_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-02-17 09:57:28

"Diane Cabell" <dcabell_at_[hidden]> writes:

> "David Abrahams" <dave_at_[hidden]> wrote:
>> Diane, I want to clarify something you may have missed: the point in
>> question does not concern the Boost license itself, but the way in
>> which our source files declare the license to be applicable to them.
>> They do not contain a copy of the license, but instead make reference
>> to it in a comment, typically:
>> // Copyright David Abrahams 2004. Use, modification and distribution is
>> // subject to the Boost Software License, Version 1.0. (See accompanying
>> // file LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at
> No, I didn't understand that.
> You could just say
> // Copyright David Abrahams 2004 and made available subject to the terms of
> Boost Software License,
> // Version 1.0. (See accompanying
> // file LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at

Thanks, that seems less prone to misinterpretation to me also. Would

   // Copyright David Abrahams 2004. Distributed under the Boost
   // Software License, Version 1.0. (See accompanying file
   // LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at

do just as well? It's just just a little less wordy -- "made
available subject ot the terms of" sticks in my craw a bit.

> (....)
>> > David Abrahams wrote:
>> >
>> Ugh I don't think we ever considered that "display" would be
>> interpreted other than to mean "display publicly". Does that mean
>> that in the license:
>> Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person or
>> organization obtaining a copy of the software and accompanying
>> documentation covered by this license (the "Software") to use,
>> reproduce, display, distribute, execute, and transmit the
>> Software, and to prepare derivative works of the Software, and to
>> permit third-parties to whom the Software is furnished to do so,
>> all subject to the following:
>> "display" ought to be "display publicly"?
> Yes. But again, private display doesn't require permission, so a
> court would likely interpret this to language to mean "public
> display." If it went to court, you'd get to testify as to that
> intention.

So IIUC, changing the license wording isn't critical. We should
probably wait 'till a critical issue comes up before making any
non-critical changes.

>> This is what makes me think you might have missed the fact that "use,
>> modification and distribution" isn't in the license itself. The
>> suggestion is that "use, modification and distribution" be removed
>> from source files to avoid having to repeat all the rights named in
>> the license.
> Yes, I did miss that. I think it will be solved by deleting reference to
> any specific rights in the comment.


>> >> (....)
>> >> Sorry, I think I was just bringing up a linguistic technicality.
>> >> These are all copyrightable files. The question is whether a *thing*
>> >> can be subject to a license, or only actions that might be performed
>> >> on that thing. That's why I suggested "licensed under ... " instead
>> >> of "subject to ... ".
>> >
>> > Copyright licenses copying; patents protect operations. Since patent
>> > rights were only recently recognized for pure software, the line is
>> > not really clear in a lot of cases. Interpretation of the licenses
>> > isn't just limited to the linuisitics, however, but looks at the
>> > purpose the agreement is trying to accomplish, what people in the
>> > trade normally intend to happen in such situations, etc.
>> I'm not sure how to apply that information to our situation. My
>> remark about "subject to" was akin to saying "I think you're using a
>> noun as a verb; here's a way to phrase it that avoids grammatical
>> problems."
> Then I still don't understand your query. The file is a thing and you are
> licensing rights to use the thing. The rights are verbs, permitting people
> (or machines) to perform certain activities using the thing. Both of them
> are subject to the license. I think we're OK. Maybe Devin has another
> perspective.
> dc

Great, thanks for all your help.

Dave Abrahams
Boost Consulting

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