POV-Ray : Newsgroups : povray.general : copyright/trademark/patent license questions : Re: copyright/trademark/patent license questions Server Time
7 Dec 2021 15:30:14 EST (-0500)
  Re: copyright/trademark/patent license questions  
From: Paul Wise
Date: 15 Nov 2013 20:10:00
Message: <web.5286c5db64b58545cabffe110@news.povray.org>
clipka wrote:

> PLEASE BE AWARE that the licenses used by POV-Ray 3.7 for the
> accompanying files differ on a file-by-file basis: While complex sample
> scenes are typically distributed under a CC BY-SA license, simple sample
> scenes are typically distributed under a CC BY license, and include
> files are typically distributed under a CC BY-ND license.

I was going by what was listed in the README.md, I guess that needs updating.
However I can't see any mention of the CC-BY-ND license in the git repository so
I'm not sure if you are correct there. The only mention of the CC-BY-NC-SA
license is in the README.md so maybe that is incorrect and should be fixed.
Looking at the files themselves, the includes appear to be all CC-BY-SA-3.0 or
have no copyright/license header.

Looking at the output of Debian's licensecheck script, I note there are some
files still under the old POV-Ray licence in unix/scripts/, I guess that was an

> When I joined the dev team some years ago there was indeed a contributor
> agreement to be signed. It required agreement that POV-Ray Ltd. could
> distribute my contributions under /both/ the old POV-Ray license /and/
> the AGPL. The old POV-Ray license was still relevant back then, but the
> decision to move towards AGPL had already been made.

Makes sense.

> Chris took great pains to get the license transitions straight,
> contacting all the past contributors to get their ok for the license
> transition (to my knowledge this included all contributors, regardless
> of whether they had signed a contributor agreements or not); wherever
> the ok was denied, or could not be obtained for other reasons, care was
> taken to replace or remove the respective portions of the source code,
> scene files or whatever other portion of POV-Ray. If POV-Ray should ever
> undergo another licensing transition to an incompatible license, I would
> expect similar proceedings.

Hmm, you seem to be saying that the individuals who wrote the code still own
copyright on that code but as far as I can tell, ignoring the embedded code
copies of external projects, the headers in the code mostly say Copyright
POV-Ray Ltd. There are some files with no copyright/license header and some with
additional copyright holders though but most of the codebase appears to be owned
by POV-Ray Ltd.

About the files without copyright/license information:


> IANAL, but with POV-Ray now being placed under the AGPL, it appears to
> me that there is now another route available for contributions which
> does not require any signed agreement: Change the code, and distribute
> the changed code back to the dev team under the AGPL yourself; they can
> then freely use it as part of POV-Ray as long as POV-Ray remains under
> the AGPL.

Indeed. This would only work if they aren't planning a contributor agreement
that allows them to relicense code under any license, including proprietary
ones. This is what some companies do, for example Canonical:


> They sue your ass off if you don't comply :-)
> Seriously, POV-Ray Ltd. has fought some lawsuits against license
> violators in the past (stuff like commercial products silently using
> POV-Ray as their rendering engine and hiding the fact) and thrown quite
> some money at them. I guess with the transition to AGPL they'd also
> happily call in airstrikes from the FSF.

Good to hear.

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