[opensource-dev] Fwd: [gnu.org #566095] Possible Licensing Conflict

Gigs gigstaggart at gmail.com
Tue Apr 20 12:51:04 PDT 2010


I don't think Brett fully considered the implications of:

"You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or 
distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we 
determine that there is a violation."

Which is clearly in conflict with the GPL.

Ron Festa wrote:
> Since people wanted to see it here it is right from the Free Software 
> Foundation.
> 
> Ron Festa
> Virtual Worlds Admin
> Division of Continuing Studies at Rutgers University
> PGP key: http://bit.ly/b1ZyhY
> Phone: 732-474-8583
> 
> 
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: *Brett Smith via RT* <licensing at fsf.org <mailto:licensing at fsf.org>>
> Date: Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 1:00 PM
> Subject: [gnu.org <http://gnu.org> #566095] Possible Licensing Conflict
> To: ronfesta at docs.rutgers.edu <mailto:ronfesta at docs.rutgers.edu>
> 
> 
>  > [ronfesta at docs.rutgers.edu <mailto:ronfesta at docs.rutgers.edu> - Thu 
> Apr 15 12:02:18 2010]:
>  >
>  > Company name: Linden Research, Inc
>  > Product: Second Life Viewer
>  > Contact Info: http://lindenlab.com/contact
>  >
>  > <http://lindenlab.com/contact>Possible Violation: The Second Life
> Viewer is
>  > released completely under the GPLv2 with exception to the commercial
> binary
>  > blobs which have been replaced with opensource equivalents. Recently they
>  > have released a Third Party Viewer Policy (TPVP) in regards to viewers
> made
>  > from their source code that connect to their service. In this policy,
>  > section 7a appears to be in conflict with sections 11 & 12 of the 
> GPLv2 in
>  > which their source code is licensed under.
> 
> Ron,
> 
> Thanks for getting in touch with us with your concerns. It's always
> good to know that people like you take the GPL seriously enough to ask
> these sorts of questions.
> 
> My understanding is that Linden Labs' Third-Party Viewers Policy,
> despite the name, sets out policies for connecting to Second Life's own
> servers. Other services might call this kind of policy a Terms of
> Service. This statement from the policy's preamble explains their intent:
> 
> "This Policy does not place any restriction on modification or use of
> our viewer source code that we make available under the GPL. Rather, the
> Policy sets out requirements for connecting to our Second Life service
> using a Third-Party Viewer, regardless of the viewer source code used,
> and for participating in our Viewer Directory."
> 
> The freedoms granted by the GPL and other free software licenses are
> never absolute -- they are limited by law and other legal agreements.
> For example, just because the license allows you to use the software
> for any purpose does not mean you are allowed to use it to DoS a
> server, or undertake other illegal activities.
> 
> Linden Labs has the right to set policies for clients connecting to its
> servers, and that is what it has done with this policy. They do not put
> direct limits on the freedoms you have under the GPL: viewers that don't
> follow the policies could be used to connect to alternative servers as
> they become available, to make an entirely new game, or in completely
> unrelated projects. I am sympathetic to concerns that some of these
> policies may have chilling effects on development of third party viewer
> applications, but the policies are not in any inherent, direct conflict
> with the GPL's terms.
> 
> I hope this helps clear up our position on the matter for you. If you
> have other concerns, please feel free to contact us.
> 
> Best regards,
> 
> --
> Brett Smith
> Licensing Compliance Engineer, Free Software Foundation
> 
> 
> 
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