Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

*IF* you want to share your opinion on the GPL issue, this is the place for you.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:35 pm

I wanted to post my opinion about http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/topic,163492.0.html but the topic is locked so I'm posting a new thread.

I really don't see what the big hoohaa is all about. I didn't read through all 67 pages of the above thread but the general gist seems that 3rd party developers don't have the right to distribute encrypted extensions because it violates the GPL.

This is all hogwash imho. A 3rd party developer can make any extension he/she wants to, encrypted or not and distribute it on a pay-for basis without violating ANY GNU/GPL licensing as long as the developer specifically does NOT distrubute it under a GNU/GPL license.

[quote=∓quot;Jinx"\]Not the user but the third party developer (the person who owns the copyrights of the code) violates the GPL by encrypting it, the act of installing an extension (module/component/plugin) is not a violation of the GPL. If the user whishes to distribute the combined work (Joomla! + extensions) he will not be able to this in accoordance with the terms of the GPL license of Joomla! as part of the code is encrypted and cannot be re-distributed. If such a situation happens the user should inform the Joomla! project about this violation as it's only the copyright holders of the Joomla! code base who can enforce the license upon third party developers.[/quote]

The 3rd party developer does NOT violate the GPL, his encrypted product was not combined with (installed in) a GPL product (like Joomla) when he/she distributed it.

The end-user who installs it in a GPL product (like Joomla) will invalidate the GPL license by installing (combining) a non-GPL extension with the GPL product (Joomla). However, as long as the end-user does not distribute the combined work, there is no violation of the GPL.

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:47 pm

Hey Colt the GPL discussion is going on over here in the Lounge in the GPL subforum.  (yep it is a big topic...)  We will move your thread over there so we can keep it all together.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby aoirthoir » Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:45 am

Colt,

I realize the discussion threads are tedious and quite long. However, I suggest you read them through. I did, and have continued to do so. Yes it is exhausting. However, when you do you will realize a few things. Among them is the fact that the GPL is not violated by use. Thus a user, purchasing a non-compliant extension, and installing it, does not violate the terms of the GPL. In fact the situation is exactly the opposite of that which your posts states. Even the 3pds that disagree with the application of these concepts to their code understand that a user is not in violation of the GPL by installing or running a non-compliant program.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:03 am

aoirthoir wrote:I realize the discussion threads are tedious and quite long. However, I suggest you read them through. I did, and have continued to do so. Yes it is exhausting.

I guess you must have been a bit "exhausted" when you read my post?

aoirthoir wrote:However, when you do you will realize a few things. Among them is the fact that the GPL is not violated by use. Thus a user, purchasing a non-compliant extension, and installing it, does not violate the terms of the GPL.

Exactly, I did not say that the user violated the GPL by installing a non-compliant extension. I said that it invalidates the GPL of (Joomla).

aoirthoir wrote:In fact the situation is exactly the opposite of that which your posts states. Even the 3pds that disagree with the application of these concepts to their code understand that a user is not in violation of the GPL by installing or running a non-compliant program.

I said "However, as long as the end-user does not distribute the combined work, there is no violation of the GPL."

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby aoirthoir » Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:38 am

Colt_45,

I deserved to be and stand corrected. Many apologies for misreading your statement.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 2:47 am

Colt_45 wrote:Exactly, I did not say that the user violated the GPL by installing a non-compliant extension. I said that it invalidates the GPL of (Joomla).


Why is it that Joomla!'s license is invalidated and not the non-GPL compliant progam's when the user combines?  Who makes that decision as to who's license is invalidated?  Could the combination of the two by the user invalidate the license of the non-GPL compliant software also thus making both licenses invalid?

Edited the fact that my spell check replaced a word that shouldn't have been replaced, that isn't in my spell check dictionary for Firefox's spell checker.  NO OFFENSE WAS INTENDED :)
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:10 am

MMMedia wrote:
Colt_45 wrote:Exactly, I did not say that the user violated the GPL by installing a non-compliant extension. I said that it invalidates the GPL of (Playroom).

Is the misquote intentional? Are you trying to say that Joomla == Playroom?

MMMedia wrote:Why is it that Joomla!'s license is invalidated and not the non-GPL compliant progam's when the user combines?  Who makes that decision as to who's license is invalidated?

Apparently the Joomla Development Team is saying so and making that decision.

MMMedia wrote:Could the combination of the two by the user invalidate the license of the non-GPL compliant software also thus making both licenses invalid?

A commercial extension would probably not be distributed under the GPL, thus it has no GPL to be invalidated.

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:13 am

Please keep in mind that I'm saying that there is no violation of the GPL unless the combined work is distributed.

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby mcsmom » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:07 am

Colt,

That is your opinion, and it is somewhat similar to some other people's opinions, but it is not the opinion of most of the experts in the field. Pretending that something that is build for the Joomla! CMs, that only operates within the cms and that interacts with Joomla! is not really meant to extend or enhance Joomla! just because the end user has to actually press the button to connect them is not likely to be a convincing argument if the licensing of an extension is challenged by a copyright holder.

If you do wade through the thousands of posts on this topic you will find this basic line of reasoning has already been discussed extensively.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:27 am

No the playroom wasn't intentional.  I have no idea how it got there other than a bad spellcheck that went out of control.  Relax please.  I will edit it.  Obviously you can tell it it wasn't intentionally.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:33 am

Why wouldn't the combination of both programs then violate both licenses irregardless of the license each is released under?  You stated that when the user combines the two that the GPL license of Joomla is invalidated.  The Core Team has never said that it's license is invalidated.  They have stated that their license is violated.  There is a huge difference between the two.

Is it that you are not understanding the difference between violation and validation?
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:41 am

MMMedia wrote:The Core Team has never said that it's license is invalidated.  They have stated that their license is violated.

I understand the difference between violation and validation.

Please point me to the part(s) in the GPL (not the FAQs) that supports the Core Team's claim that it's license would be violated by someone developing a commercial extension and/or installing a commercial extension.

Perhaps then I may form a better understanding of this issue.

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:44 am

Please state for me where it says it invalidates Joomla!'s GPL license.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:54 am

MMMedia wrote:Please state for me where it says it invalidates Joomla!'s GPL license.

You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to propagate or modify it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:55 am

That states that it terminates the users rights under the license.  Not the license holder's rights under the license.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:09 am

MMMedia wrote:That states that it terminates the users rights under the license.  Not the license holder's rights under the license.

Yes, obviously the license holder (Core Team) wouldn't be doing such things as including and distributing copyrighted works with Joomla.

I guess I should have stated that it will invalidate (terminate) the end-user's GPL license for Joomla.

This a tiresome topic.

I think the Core Team is foolish to try to put themselves in the shoes of the GPL police. It's a waste of time and effort. The Core Team should be using its energy to make Joomla ever better instead of becoming overly concerned with licensing issues which have no clear resolution. I don't see any loss to Joomla having commercial extensions available. I do see a great loss by the turmoil this issue is creating.

Take for instance the recent release of 1.0.13. Why wasn't the fix for the empty categories not being displayed included with this most recent release?

It just seems against the spirit of Open Source to have the Core Team get a stick up their butt about GPL issues. If they don't want "Open Source" development, just say so and use a different license for Joomla.

I think I'll not involve myself further with this headache and maybe just move back to Mambo where there aren't any GPL issues. At least M-4.6.2 displays empty categories.

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:17 am

I guess I should have stated that it will invalidate (terminate) the end-user's GPL license for Joomla.


No it doesn't.  It doesn't terminate the license at all. It only terminates the user's rights that are given to them under the license.  The license for Joomla! stays intact.  There is a difference.

Mambo is GPL too.  The same issues exist.  They exist with any GPL licensed software.  To say that those issues don't exist for them is misleading and mis informational.

A guideline is just that a guideline.  A FAQ is just that a FAQ.  Both of those are not legally binding. They can be changed at any time, and are subject to the whims of the people that create them. 

The GPL is a legally binding license.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:24 am

MMMedia wrote:
I guess I should have stated that it will invalidate (terminate) the end-user's GPL license for Joomla.


No it doesn't.  It doesn't terminate the license at all. It only terminates the user's rights that are given to them under the license.  The license for Joomla! stays intact.  There is a difference.
Yes, I stand corrected.

MMMedia wrote:Mambo is GPL too.  The same issues exist.  They exist with any GPL licensed software.  To say that those issues don't exist for them is misleading and mis informational.

But they aren't making a big issue about commercial extensions.

MMMedia wrote:A guideline is just that a guideline.  A FAQ is just that a FAQ.  Both of those are not legally binding. They can be changed at any time, and are subject to the whims of the people that create them. 
I agree.

MMMedia wrote:The GPL is a legally binding license.

I'm still waiting for you to point out the area in the GPL (not the FAQs) that makes it illegal to develop and provide commercial extensions.

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby mcsmom » Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:30 am

Colt,

Again, it has been said a million times. Commercial is fine. Proprietary is fine if you offer the source code OR if you can prove that the extension is not derivative. What is not fine is a derivative extension that does not meet the terms of the gpl.

Mambo is mambo, they feel they are protected from action by individual copyright holders and so can do what they want. i don't know if they are right or wrong, and frankly it makes no difference to me since I use Joomla!. Joomla! is organized in a different way and the core team/OSM feels that a copyright holder could act against the project if there was any modification of the gpl.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:30 am

I'm still waiting for you to point out the area in the GPL (not the FAQs) that makes it illegal to develop and provide commercial extensions.


No one has ever said it was illegal to develop and provide commercial extensions.  The only thing that has been said is that those extensions have to licensed in a manner that is GPL or GPL compatible if they are deemed to be derivative of Joomla!.  This has been stated no only in the community announcement.  It has been brought up in almost every thread.  There were interviews being given this past week on alledia's site regarding GPL business models. http://www.alledia.com/

Perhaps you need to take the time to understand the issue before you start lashing out.  I don't think you do understand the issue if you don't know the basic principle isn't commercial vs non-commercial but a matter of compatible licensing. 
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:59 am

MMMedia wrote:Perhaps you need to take the time to understand the issue before you start lashing out.  I don't think you do understand the issue if you don't know the basic principle isn't commercial vs non-commercial but a matter of compatible licensing. 

If any part of my comments or statements came accross as "lashing out" I do apologize for that, I did not mean it to be so deemed.

So, are there or has there ever been any commercial extension for Joomla that has been "deemed" to be a "derivitive work" of Joomla?

--added--

And where in the GNU/GPL is there a definition for what a "derivative work" is?
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 6:17 am

Colt_45 wrote:If any part of my comments or statements came accross as "lashing out" I do apologize for that, I did not mean it to be so deemed.

So, are there or has there ever been any commercial extension for Joomla that has been "deemed" to be a "derivitive work" of Joomla?

One that comes to me off the top of my head (because it was just being discussed in another thread) that would without question be a derivative work would be JACLPlus Pro as it actually is a core hack. (being a core hack would automatically make it a derivative)  It is a commercial extension.  So if you go through extensions that you know, those that hack core files would definitely be derivative.

The derivative issue could be argued on both sides by a lot of people 50 million ways.  Ultimately it is difficult to know, and each extension would have to evaluated after seeing the code in its entirety on a case by case basis. Some say it would be an issue for courts to decide, and that very well could be true.

***Added after Colt_45 added this to his post***

Colt_45 wrote:
And where in the GNU/GPL is there a definition for what a "derivative work" is?


The GPL license and more information can be found here:
http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/
http://www.fsf.org/
http://www.softwarefreedom.org/

Happy reading.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Colt_45 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 6:50 am

Well, thanks for all the references but I don't see any mention of "derivative works" in any of those. The only mention of "derivative works" I see is in the Creative Commons license.

Also, I found this statement made by Professor Eben Moglen of Columbia University Law School, who is the lawyer for the Free Software Foundation:
"the GPL is based on copyright law but reminds us that the GPL requires the author of software to unilaterally give up certain copyright rights. He suggests that the GPL actually subtracts from the usual exclusive rights of the author under copyright law, through the granting of unilateral permissions. Under the GPL, all persons observing its terms are unilaterally permitted all rights to use, copy and modify the software. Users who only use the software themselves or who modify the software only for their own use have no obligations under the GPL. Only persons who distribute have reciprocal obligations under the GPL. These include the obligation to release under the GPL, to include a copy of the GPL and to preserve notices relating to the GPL. Thus, the author of the software gives up his rights to control the actions of people who receive the software and do not distribute it, and these people have a unilateral right to use, copy and modify the software. Once software is released under the GPL, the releasing party cannot get it back or halt its use or modification without distribution"

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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby Jenny » Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:36 am

It is your choice to read the materials provided Colt_45.  If you want to pose questions then immediately answer them yourself feel free to.  There is no need for anyone else to respond  to anything you post.
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Re: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Postby aoirthoir » Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:52 am

Colt_45,

The definition of derivative works is a matter of copyright law. A person could make a statement that we should not break the speeding laws, yet not mention the speed limit. Since speed limits vary even within the same district depending on the road, time of day (as in school speed limits), weather conditions, we could not say, "Do not go over 50," since in some areas that would be incorrect.

The definition of derivative works varies quite a bit depending on the facts of the case, the local, even the judge. There is no set case law which has determined exactly what a derivative work is. Is it 2% change? 10%? In some places the answer to both might be yes. It is for this reason that the USA Copyright Office has stated that you are best if you *always* get permission from a copyright holder before you make user of their work. The chances are that your using another work creates a derivative.

Also derivatives are not a one stream path. So if I use 3 songs in a movie, wherein I wrote the script, the movie is derived from my script, and each of the three songs. I must have permission to use the songs in my movie. So too with a program that combines code you created, and Joomla!. The combined work is a derivative of your program and Joomla! So both licenses must be followed. The GPL has the die clause, which means that if its requirements cannot be met, then the work cannot  be distributed.

I realize that you and others think if you are not actually distributing the original work, since the user has it already, then you are not distributing. However, you are distributing a part of a combined work. Assume you sold something to a user who was not experienced, they did not have Joomla!, now you have sold them a digital paperweight. So you must provide Joomla! as well. In all cases the combined program does not work without Joomla!, so it requires Joomla!. This even occurs in the cases of a bridge. Joomla! = standalone. Mygreatprog = Standalone. Joomla! + Bridge + Mygreatprog = combined work. So Mygreatprog typically does not have to be distributed using the GPL. And as long as it remains seperate from a GPL program it does not have to be. But the combined work of Joomla!+Bridge+MyGReatProg must follow the licenses of all three programs. If it cannot meet the terms of all three it cannot be distributed.

Regarding the comments with Mambo, so long as they own all of the copyrights to all of their code, and they make no use of any borrowed code, they may make such a statement. It has been told to me that they do. So be it then. However, if they borrow code from any other project, they are unable to offer such exceptions. Really, they should have released their program under the GNU LGPL which would have protected the core files, but allowed calls to their functions as a library. That's why we have these two licenses.

As far as policing the GPL, the team is doing anything but. Please reread the announcement about this issue.

Even if they were going to police we are probably talking a year or more away before and compliance issues would be 'forced'. Though this has been stated again and again they are not forcing compliance. In fact, the GPL has not had to have its compliance forced. Time and again the FSF has sought gentle compliance, and achieved it. Why?

Well lets look at the term you used earlier 'illegal'. Let's say I have a proprietary extension. Could my position of it be illegal? Could my running it be illegal? What if I run it on multiple websites, could this be illegal? What if it is encrypted and I try to decrypt it, could this likewise be illegal? The answer to all of these is a resounding yes. I cannot copy it from a friend, that is a crime, and I can face criminal penalties and fines. Since the license of many of these stipulate that I can run on one domain, the same applies. Running it of course is illegal if I have no purchased it, or if I have, if I run on multiple computers or domains. Decrypting is a violation of the DMCA. In all cases the developer of these extensions want people to follow her license. She has the weight of law to enforce this if she desires, even having the potential to cause people to go to jail and pay heavy fines.

Now compare that illegal scenario along with its penalties with the GNU GPL illegal scenario and its penalties. Can you give to a friend? Yes. No violation. Can you run it for anything? Yes, no violation. Can you run on multiple domains and websites and computers and from your kitchen, bathtub, on the top of your head while wearing pink frilly dresses singing Danny Boy? Yes, no violation. (Yes that's a bit silly, merely pointing out that unlike with proprietary software, the GPL does not restrict how you run it.) Can you disassemble, decrypt and reverse engineer? Yes, no violation, though typically since you have the code you shant need to do these things.

Ok so what about the penalties of the GPL? Simple, if you cant meet the terms do not distribute. That's all.

However, the core team hasnt even said that yet. They have taken no extensions off of the websites. As you read from their announcement they are going to get themselves into compliance first. This is a long process. I expect it might take as long as a year give or take. Thats my feeling, but I think it's reasonable. All they seek is voluntary gentle compliance. No pogroms, no calling devs evil, none of that. In fact any claim otherwise has come from parties other than the team, or those supporting them.

Also please remember these are not issues of commercial use. I am paid by my company to develop free software. The GPL is probably one of the most pro business licenses available. I realize others continue to argue this fact. It is pro business because it allows all businesses to compete on their own merits. Other licenses lock certain parties out of competition.

All in all this process is going to be a slow one. And you will find that lots of developers are already compliant and others are already coming into compliance without the misinformation that you might have read up to this point.

Though again I'd definitely recommend reading the posts in their full to gain a better understanding of all sides.
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