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Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 12:57:06 -0700
From: Christopher Lane <>
To: Rich Felker <>
Subject: Re: Proposed COPYRIGHT file changes to resolve "PD" issue


Our lawyers just got back to me: looks good to us.  Thanks so much for all
the time spent on this.

On Sun, Apr 10, 2016 at 9:14 PM, Rich Felker <> wrote:

> After the previous discussions on the list, I spoke with one of
> Google's lawyers on the phone. It's taken me a while to follow up
> after that because I was away at ELC last week, but I think we have a
> good resolution as long as there are no objections.
> Where I was coming from was not wanting license crap to be an obstacle
> to adoption of musl (after all, that's why I relicensed from LGPL to
> MIT in the first place) but also not wanting to scrub my/our belief
> that some of these files are non-copyrightable or retroactively claim
> ownership of something we can't own.
> Where they were coming from was a context of dealing with courts
> wrongly (this is my opinion I'm injecting here) deeming interfaces to
> be copyrightable, and having to spend ridiculously disproportionate
> effort to determine if the license actually gives them permission to
> use all the code.
> While I don't really agree that they actually have cause for concern
> in musl's case, I do agree that the simple fact that the current text
> is causing concern means there's something wrong with it. A license
> should not make you have to stop and think about whether you can
> actually use the software, and certainly shouldn't necessitate 60+
> message mailing list threads.
> The proposal we reached on the phone call was that I would try
> improving the previous patch to no longer make a statement about the
> copyrightability of the files in question, but to note that we
> expressed such a belief in the past. No new statement that we _do_
> hold copyright over these files is made, but the grants of permission
> are made unconditionally (i.e. without any conditions like "if these
> files are found to be subject to copyright...").
> How does this sound? See the attached patch for the specific wording
> proposed and let me know if you have constructive ideas for improving
> it. On our side, it's really the agreement of the contributors of the
> affected code (I have a draft list of them in the patch) that matters,
> but I'd welcome input from others too. Also, the patch itself has not
> been run by Google's side yet -- I'm doing this all in the open -- so
> there still may be further feedback/input from their side.
> Rich


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