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Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 16:35:11 -0400
From: Rich Felker <>
To: Christopher Lane <>
Subject: Re: Re: Proposed COPYRIGHT file changes to resolve "PD" issue

On Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 12:57:06PM -0700, Christopher Lane wrote:
> Rich,
> Our lawyers just got back to me: looks good to us.  Thanks so much for all
> the time spent on this.

At one point you said you would check the list of contributors you
wanted to get clarification from. Does the list I put in the proposed
patch look complete to you? I tried to include port contributors who
wrote significant new stuff for these files but not anyone who just
made minor patches to existing files or just copied existing files
with minimal/no changes from an existing port.


> 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
> >
> -- 
> kthxbai
> :wq

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