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Subject: Re: [boost] [simd] Hardware support
From: Niall Douglas (s_sourceforge_at_[hidden])
Date: 2017-04-10 07:43:20

On 09/04/2017 23:20, Mathias Gaunard via Boost wrote:
> That is correct, IANAL, but my understanding is that French law does not
> allow transfer of ownership of intellectual property, and that it stays
> with the author until death.

Moral rights cannot be transferred in many European countries, but
economic rights can be. One can also sign a contract binding you to
never assert your moral rights. The end result looks very similar to
outright sale or transfer of IP as under English law.

> In any case, I am listed as one of the main authors in legally-binding
> registrations of various pieces of software managed by the University of
> Paris-Sud, including NT2 on which this library is based on, and would have
> to give my agreement for any special licensing deal.
> This is mostly a technicality, as all of this is licensed under the Boost
> Software License and there are little damages to speak of, but still
> something that needs fixing.

One of the big problems with the older open source licences such as the
Boost licence was a lack of awareness at the time of writing of
different copyright regimes outside the English law ones. Newer open
source licences are much better designed in this regard, and the EU in
2009 published the EUPL licence specifically designed for maximum global

(Incidentally I really wish US-centric open source orgs would use
something like the EUPL
rather than their US-centric licences which are problematic outside
English law jurisdictions)

One might think that a lawyer in a European country could assert that
due to the impermeability of moral rights, that the failure to comply
with the Boost licence requirement of preservation of copyright notices
is a problem, but that would only be in countries where moral rights are
impermeable. The argument wouldn't fly in the US or the UK, except when
applied to visual artwork.

However, in Europe legal precedent holds that licences cannot impose
conditions on a sale of software, where "sale" is defined to be any
distribution such as a download. So as soon as a European downloads an
open source library, they are free to ignore any conditions in any
licence. This is probably surprising to most readers on here as it makes
licences such as the GPL unenforceable in the EU, see
Obviously this is a recent (2013) ruling to a specific case, but it was
by the EU supreme court, so any further legal cases would likely be
decided the same way.

So, and stressing IANAL, I think Numscale are on solid legal ground
here, at least both in the US and Europe. As a spinout from a
university, I think it would be extremely unlikely that the university's
legal department haven't gone through the situation with a fine tooth
comb beforehand.

tl;dr; I see no problem with Boost.SIMD's IP provenance.


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