[Python-Dev] license issues with profiler.py and md5.h/md5c.c

Phillip J. Eby pje at telecommunity.com
Sat Feb 12 01:25:35 CET 2005

At 12:57 AM 2/12/05 +0100, Martin v. Löwis wrote:
>Phillip J. Eby wrote:
>>I personally can't see how taking the reasonable interpretation of a 
>>public domain declaration can lead to any difficulties, but then, IANAL.
>The ultimate question is whether we could legally relicense such
>code under the Python license, ie. remove the PD declaration, and
>attach the Python license to it. I'm sure somebody would come along
>and claim "you cannot do that, and because you did, I cannot use
>your code, because it is not legally trustworthy"; people would
>say the same if the PD declaration would stay around.

Right, but now we've moved off the legality and into marketing, which is an 
even less sane subject in some ways.  The law at least has certain checks 
and balances built into it, but in marketing, people's irrationality knows 
no bounds.  ;)

>It might be, but that is irrelevant for open source projects that
>include contributions. Either they don't care too much about such
>things, in which case anything remotely "free" would be acceptable,
>or they are very nit-picking, in which case you need a good record
>for any contribution you ever received.

Isn't the PSF somewhere in between?  I mean, in theory we are supposed to 
be tracking stuff, but in practice there's no contributor agreement for CVS 
committers ala Zope Corp.'s approach.  So in some sense right now, Python 
depends largely on the implied promise of its contributors to license their 
contributions under the same terms as Python.  ISTM that if somebody's 
lawyer is worried about whether Python contains pseudo-public domain code, 
they should be downright horrified by the absence of a paper trail on the 
rest.  But IANAM (I Am Not A Marketer), either.  :)

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