FSFE Newsletter - February 2014

Hugo Roy hugo at fsfe.org
Tue Feb 11 09:35:15 UTC 2014

+ 2014-02-11 Tue 01:03, Johannes Zarl <jzarl at fsfe.org>:

> I did mention that part about Qt not being a company, but being owned by Digia 
> because of the previous statement of you citing "BSD" as the "owner" of the Qt 
> project.

What? Why would "BSD" mean any other thing than the BSD license
here?  I already explained in the last email!

> > > > > - The owner of Qt may make the entire Qt project proprietary by first
> > > > > releasing it under a BSD license.
> > > > 
> > > > You see, the problem with your example is that it's actually
> > > > wrong.
> > > 
> > > How so?
> > 
> > I explained it to you in my former email.
> > 
> > To put it bluntly, your sentence is nonsense.
> It is a one-sentence summary of the agreement between KDE and the 
> owner/Digia/copyright holder/"Qt"/whatever.
> It is nonsense if one redefines the meaning of owner and ignores the 
> references to the blog post comments and has been oblivious to the way KDE and 
> "Qt" are working together.

We were speaking in general terms, and suddenly you're talking
about a specific case. I was never commenting on the specific case
and only said "Qt" as an example to try to explain to you why
what you wrote **in general terms** was wrong.

I'm sorry to tell you that what you're writing there does not make
sense to me. I don't know how to explain it in another manner and
I don't understand what you're writing now.

You say "it is nonsense if one redefines the meaning of owner" but
that's actually the **opposite** of what I said. If you take the
common understanding of what "owner" would mean in your sentence,
it would be the copyright holder (and you seem to agree with that
common understanding). But in that case the sentence does not make
sense because the copyright holder can always make something
proprietary, there's no impact from the BSD (LICENSE!) or

What I'm only trying to do here is to make sure that people in
FSFE lists can understand some of the various implications that
different legal tools have. This is why we criticised some types
of copyright assignments in our newsletter. Because I've seen
myself at FOSDEM this year that it's far from clear to many
developers what copyright licenses, copyright assignments and
things like the FLA are. And I agree it's easy to get lost when
you don't understand them. It took some time to make sure that
people understood broadly what the GPL did exactly (and it's still
far from finished but at least 95% is done and that's enough);
then again it took time to understand software patents and how
they are negative; now have to make sure people understand these
copyright assignments before they can make a conscious decision
about whether they think this is good for software freedom or not.

Oh BTW, since you were talking about KDE, KDE has adopted FSFE's
FLA years ago: http://ev.kde.org/rules/fla.php


Hugo Roy, Free Software Foundation Europe, <www.fsfe.org>  
Deputy Coordinator, FSFE Legal Team, <www.fsfe.org/legal>  
Coordinator, FSFE French Team, <www.fsfe.org/fr>  
Support Free Software, sign up! <https://fsfe.org/support>
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