[bitcoin-dev] Proposed BIP-1 change removing OPL licensing option.

Gregory Maxwell greg at xiph.org
Sat Sep 24 00:21:16 UTC 2016


I've proposed a revision to BIP-1 that removes the option to license
the work under the OPL:  https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/pull/446

The OPL contains troublesome terms where the licensor can elect to
prohibit print publication of the work as well as the creation of
modified versions without their approval.

"Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is
prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder."
"Distribution of the work or derivative of the work in any standard
(paper) book form is prohibited unless prior permission is obtained
from the copyright holder."

Additionally, even without these optional clauses the specific
construction of this licenses' attribution requirements are
restrictive enough that Debian does not consider it acceptable for
works included in their distribution
(https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/03/msg00226.html).

I can't find any discussion that indicates anyone involved with the
project was aware of these clauses at the time this text was added...
and I believe they are strongly incompatible with having a
transparent, public, collaborative process for the development of
standard for interoperablity. I certainly wasn't aware of it, and
would have argued against it if I was.

Moreover, the project that created this license has recommended people
use creative commons licenses instead since 2007.

The only BIPs that have availed themselves of this are BIP145 (which
is dual licensed under the permissive 2-clause BSD, which I wouldn't
object to adding as an option-- and which doesn't active the
objectionable clauses) and the recently assigned BIP134.


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