Hello ede, all, I tried to read the licence again and again and decided to ask Bernhard Reiter (BER), a collegue of mine and Free Software licence expert about a statement to the ECW-license-text posted by ede.
He is not subscribed to this list, so I post his writing here on his behave: BER> Analysis of "ecw license.txt", BER> "EARTH RESOURCE MAPPING BER> ECW JPEG 2000 SDK LICENSE AGREEMENTS" BER> BER> The first paragraph mentions four licensing options. One is for BER> applications licensed "under a GNU General Public style license BER> ("GPL")". The second has limitations and the third one is for BER> "commercial applications". Given the explicit mention of GNU GPL BER> style licenses, it can be assumed that "commercial applications" BER> more precisely means "proprietary applications". BER> The fourth option is to ask for a license for the use in BER> applications "that are outside of the terms of these agreements, BER> including server-side applications". So it is not entirely clear BER> that server-side applications are meant to be included in the BER> first three licensing options. BER> BER> Aiming at a Free Software application our best candidate seems to BER> be the first option, which is called the "ECW JPEG 2000 SDK BER> PUBLIC USE LICENSE AGREEMENT". Let us examine it in more detail: BER> BER> The first section states the intent of the license "to establish BER> freedom to share and change the software regulated by this BER> license under the open source model". BER> This is a good sign. BER> BER> However the use of the software is further restricted to "to BER> develop or be distributed with products that are licensed under a BER> license similar to a General Public License ("GPL") and at no BER> charge to the public." As it is possible to place software under BER> the GNU GPL v2 or v3 for which access to is limited or charged BER> for, use of this software would already be an additional BER> restriction towards the GNU GPL v2+ license. And thus be BER> forbidden by the GNU GPL licenses itself. As GNU GPL style BER> licences are allowed only, maybe a license GNU GPL with a special BER> exception for the libary might use the library so far. Let us BER> look further. BER> BER> The license of the library itself seems to be unfree, because of BER> the no-charge restriction, the assumed server-only restriction BER> and the restriction to not change the format. There used to be a BER> clear non-server restriction in 1)b)iv) in an elder version of BER> the license: BER> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/02/msg00051.html which BER> got removed in the current one under examination. BER> BER> The no-charge restriction will also result in major BER> GNU-Distribution being unable to ship the ecw libaries, e.g. BER> Debian has discussed a few times and also always concluded that BER> the license is non-free. E.g. BER> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/02/msg00061.html has BER> three unfree reasons. BER> BER> And then there are patents: The BER> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html states in 3. 7) that the BER> patents must allow a royality free use for everybody that BER> receives the source code under this license. A modifed source BER> code that changes the ecw format would be available under the BER> license, but probably not allowed by the patent grand of the ecw BER> lib. Therefore a "GPL v2+exception" license would not work, you BER> could not distribute the software. Section 3. 6) forbits adding BER> of further restrictions, so the combined GNU GPL v2 + exc lib is BER> undistributable. The situation is similiar with the GNU GPLv3. BER> BER> As it is unclear what under a 'GNU General Public style license BER> ("GPL")' means, there might be licenses that might allow the BER> derived work of ecw libraries and itself to be developed and BER> distributed. The obvious choices GNU GPLv2 and v3 do not allow BER> it, though. BER> BER> On the freegis lists, there have been discussion about this a few BER> times, e.g. BER> http://freegis.org/pipermail/freegis-list/2006-September/thread.html BER> clearly showing that the license is problematic. Best Stephan edgar.sol...@web.de, [20111007 - 11:21:10] > First and foremost, there is _no_ license issue here. We have two > licenses, to which terms we have to agree and act. > > ECW SDK license (note: version 3.3): > For everyone unsure i attached the license of the ecw code used to > this email. Our use case is the first license in there: --> > Use of the ECW JPEG 2000 SDK with Unlimited Decompressing and > Unlimited Compression for applications licensed under a GNU General > Public style license ("GPL") is governed by the "ECW JPEG 2000 SDK > PUBLIC USE LICENSE AGREEMENT". <-- The only drawback would be some > commercial restriction "selling,renting not allowed", but this > shouldn't be our concern, because we do _nothing_ of that sort and > anyone who wants to should make sure to oblige _all_ licenses. > > GPL2: > Secondly there is the GPLv2, the oj license. Everybody can get a copy > themselves. in a nutshell it protects every code based on gpl code by > extending gpl to it. This actually does not prevent you to use > libraries or other software with it. It "merely" insists on proper > interfaces, which make sure that these are independent software > parts. This can be problematic, because a lot of interfacing in some > programming languages is done by definitions, which are done in > source code themselves. So actually if a library would include this > code, it would need to be gpl'd again. But this is not the case here. > There is a clean separation of the source code and oj is merely using > ecw routines, not the other way around. This is covered by the > "plugin" definition. > http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLAndPlugins > > in conclusion, no problem here. > > ..ede -- Stephan Holl <stephan.h...@intevation.de> | Tel.: +49 (0)541-33 508 3663 Intevation GmbH, Neuer Graben 17, 49074 OS | AG Osnabrück - HR B 18998 Geschäftsführer: Frank Koormann, Bernhard Reiter, Dr. Jan-Oliver Wagner
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