From: David Johnson []
Sent: Sunday, October 06, 2002 10:03 PM
To: Dave Nelson; OpenSource Licensing Discussion Group
Subject: Re: Procedure for using an approved license

On Sunday 06 October 2002 02:10 pm, Dave Nelson wrote:

> I wish to use the Mozilla 1.1 license, but don't know the exact
> procedures here.
> I copied the Mozilla 1.1 license from your site, replace 'Netscape'
> with my company, and 'Mozilla' with my product, and Netscape trademarks
> with mine. No other changes were made. Then I added a line under the
> title stating:

You did too much unnecessary work. The MPL is sufficiently "templatized"
that you don't need to do all this. You only need to change the words
"Mozilla" and "Netscape" if you make a derivative license of the MPL.
This does not seem to be your intent. Far simpler: Just fill in EXHIBIT
A with your name, software, etc., and you are done!

You *do* want to keep the name "Mozilla Public License", because people
already know what it is and what rights it confers. Changing the name
will only cause confusion.

David Johnson

From: James E. Harrell, Jr. []
Sent: Sunday, October 06, 2002 7:52 PM
To: David Johnson; Dave Nelson; OpenSource Licensing Discussion Group
Subject: RE: Procedure for using an approved license

Open Source friends,

I've been looking at MPL 1.1 as well. One of the reasons I would replace
the word "Netscape" with my own company name is #6.2:

> 6.2. Effect of New Versions.
> Once Covered Code has been published under a particular version of the
> License, You may always continue to use it under the terms of that
> version. You may also choose to use such Covered Code under the terms
> of any subsequent version of the License published by Netscape. No one
> other than Netscape has the right to modify the terms applicable
> to Covered Code created under this License.

The last sentence is a difficult one for me- why would I ever want
*Netscape* to be able to supplant this license with what they deem to be
another "better" version? That version might say "All covered code
automatically becomes the sole property of Netscape corporation..." Not
suggesting that they would, but...

Further, if I take this license to legal review and finally do find it
to be acceptable for my product, what happens when MPL 1.2 comes out?
The legal review is then pointless (or at least has to be re-done); but
worse, if I don't like the terms of MPL 1.2, now I have a product that
is licensed under terms that I don't find acceptable- and I have now way
to keep you from using it under the terms of MPL 1.2.

Now, give that MPL 1.1 is probably one of the most suitable licenses for
commercial Open Source products... but there are some minor things that
might not be acceptable for our lawyers... does that mean it's time to
try another one specifically geared to Open Source commercial products
that solves the templating problem (and maybe some others?)

-- OR --

Perhaps someone can really address the question that Dave asked- or
maybe really my re-phrase of the original question:

Is this *a* correct procedure? (I change "the" to "a") Given this
procedure, is this license automatically 'OSI certified'?

*NOTE* MPL 1.2 is solely used in conjecture for the purposes of this

Thanks for help understanding this too! James

[Reply from Lawrence Rosen of the OSI. Headers lost.]


I agree with the problems you've noted with MPL 1.1.

For most practical purposes, the Open Software License (OSL)
accomplishes most of what MPL 1.1 does -- without those problems you
mentioned. The major difference is that MPL 1.1 applies on a
file-by-file basis and the OSL deals consistently with "derivative
works," but I never understood the importance of a file-by-file license
anyway in most typical software.

/Larry Rosen

Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2002 14:11:27 -0700
From: Mitchell Baker
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.1) Gecko/20020826
To: "James E. Harrell, Jr."
CC: David Johnson, Dave Nelson,
OpenSource Licensing Discussion Group
Subject: Re: Procedure for using an approved license

First I'll respond to the question of renaming the license, then to some
of the particular issues raised with the MPL.

Using the MPL unchanged is helpful for combining code from projects and
avoiding complexity. But if this is not acceptable, then Dave's
technique is a good one. First, it lets people know of the only change
quickly. Second, the only change concerns a potential future event --
the possibility of a different future version. Until that possibility
occurs, the code from the two projects is effectively licensed under the
same terms. So combining code from the two projects is simplified. Not
as simple as if both used the MPL of course, but still well within the
realm of possibility.

I can't speak as to OSI certification.

As to the particular issues raised with the MPL, I can give some
background as to why the MPL is the way it is. And James, if there are
other things in which your lawyers are interested, please feel free to
have them contact me. I can explain the thinking when the MPL was
written, as well as what we've learned since. Also, I' m interested in
learning what works well for people and what doesn't.

Section 6.1. We felt some provision for changing the license was
necessary. We realized that the chance of the MPL being perfect in its
first release (or really, any particular release) was small to nil.
Perfection is the goal, but we we're not so arrogant as to think we've
reached it J Code evolves, a license might need to as well.

The GPL has been updated several times. New laws might be enacted which
would suggest changes be made (UCITA perhaps being one). A lawsuit
could do the same thing. Also, as time goes on, the community might
find new needs arising, and some way to respond in the licenses will be

Once we decided that some way of accommodating change was needed, the
obvious question is: Who will make this decision? I'd prefer to Netscape immensely, but is not a separate
legal entity for historical reasons. For practical purposes, the MPL is
managed by staff, but that's hard to write into a legal
document. So we ended up with Netscape. It is clearly understood that
this right to change the license is one of stewardship. And that
changing the license without a consensus is dangerous, and changing the
license to benefit Netscape is deadly.

Section 11. Venue and jurisdiction is an area where I don't think we
have a good solution yet. It seems to me that the next version of the
MPL should allow different choices for new Original Code. (That is,
code not based on releases.) So others could adopt the MPL
for use with their project and make their own choices. I think the MPL
community would want this, though we haven't yet had extensive
discussions. I suspect there will be some issues when code with
different choice of law and venue provisions are combined and end up in
court, but I haven't done research on this lately.

Hope this is of interest.


Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2002 14:18:45 -0700
From: Mitchell Baker
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.1) Gecko/20020826
CC: "'James E. Harrell, Jr.'",
"'David Johnson'",
"'Dave Nelson'",
"'OpenSource Licensing Discussion Group'"
Subject: Re: Procedure for using an approved license

I had never really thought of the Open Software License as a practical
alternative for the MPL. I'll certainly reread it carefully with that
in mind.

The MPL's file based system was used so that people working with the
code, particularly programmers, could automatically and accurately
understand the scope of the license. Programmers know a file when they
see one. They don't necessarily know a derivative work when they see
one. And neither do lawyers. Last time I did serious research into
this topic, the determination of derivative work and copyright
infringement varied according to which part of the country (and which
judicial Circuit) one referred to. Sounds wild, but different Federal
Circuits often use different tests. So we opted for something firmly
based in the programming world.