POV-Ray : Newsgroups : povray.general : copyright/trademark/patent license questions Server Time: 27 Jul 2017 22:49:22 GMT
  copyright/trademark/patent license questions (Message 1 to 7 of 7)  
From: Paul Wise
Subject: copyright/trademark/patent license questions
Date: 15 Nov 2013 03:10:01
Message: <web.52858f971206da0ccabffe110@news.povray.org>
Hi all,

Currently POV-Ray is copyright by Persistence of Vision Raytracer Pty. Ltd. and
the code is licensed under the AGPLv3+, the docs are CC-BY-NC-SA-2.5 and the SDL
includes, macros and sample scenes etc are CC-BY-SA-3.0. POV-Ray Ltd owns the
trademarks 'POV-Ray', 'Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer', and 'POV-Team'. As far
as I can tell there are no patent concerns.

https://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.html
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

I have some questions about that situation:

Will copyright assignment to POV-Ray Ltd be required for contributing to
POV-Ray?

Are there any other requirements for contributions to the new AGPLv3 POV-Ray?

Is there a contributor agreement? Is there any guarantee that code contributions
will remain under the AGPLv3+ or other FLOSS licenses?

What is the business model and structure of POV-Ray Ltd?

Is POV-Ray Ltd a registered non-profit? Can we donate towards server,
development and other costs?

What are POV-Ray Ltd plans for license enforcement?

What is the reason for the documentation being under a non-commercial-only
license? Is there any chance of adopting CC-BY-SA-3.0 for the documentation?

The CC-BY-SA-3.0 license requires that all derivative works are licensed under
the same license. As far as I can tell this means that all scenes rendered with
POV-Ray that use the SDL includes, macros or are derived from the sample scenes
must be CC-BY-SA-3.0. I expect this would be problematic for some users of
POV-Ray who might want to use different licenses for their scenes. The CC0
license might be more appropriate since it is intended to be equivalent to
public domain where possible and extremely permissive where not possible. Is
there any chance of adopting CC0 for the SDL includes, macros and sample scenes?

https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

Is there a trademark policy? Either way I would like to suggest adopting
something like the Debian trademark policy, which aims for maximum use by the
community while protecting the community from misuse of the trademarks.

http://www.debian.org/trademark

While there are probably no patent concerns, I would like to point out Debian's
patent policy and patent FAQ.

http://www.debian.org/reports/patent-faq
http://www.debian.org/legal/patent


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From: clipka
Subject: Re: copyright/trademark/patent license questions
Date: 15 Nov 2013 08:14:55
Message: <5285d7ff@news.povray.org>
Am 15.11.2013 04:05, schrieb Paul Wise:

> Currently POV-Ray is copyright by Persistence of Vision Raytracer Pty. Ltd. and
> the code is licensed under the AGPLv3+, the docs are CC-BY-NC-SA-2.5 and the SDL
> includes, macros and sample scenes etc are CC-BY-SA-3.0. POV-Ray Ltd owns the
> trademarks 'POV-Ray', 'Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer', and 'POV-Team'. As far
> as I can tell there are no patent concerns.
>
> https://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.html
> https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/
> https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

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 have some questions about that situation:

Chris Cason can provide more details about the situation, and can speak 
for POV-Ray Ltd, but as a contributor I might be able to shed a bit of 
light on your questions already.


> Will copyright assignment to POV-Ray Ltd be required for contributing to
> POV-Ray?
>
> Are there any other requirements for contributions to the new AGPLv3 POV-Ray?
>
> Is there a contributor agreement? Is there any guarantee that code contributions
> will remain under the AGPLv3+ or other FLOSS licenses?

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.

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.


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.

> What are POV-Ray Ltd plans for license enforcement?

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.


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From: Paul Wise
Subject: Re: copyright/trademark/patent license questions
Date: 16 Nov 2013 01:10:00
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
oversight.

> 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:

http://tieguy.org/blog/2012/03/17/on-the-importance-of-per-file-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:

http://www.canonical.com/contributors

> 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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From: Chris Cason
Subject: Re: copyright/trademark/patent license questions
Date: 16 Nov 2013 04:08:47
Message: <5286efcf$1@news.povray.org>
On 16/11/2013 12:09, Paul Wise wrote:
> 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.

I'll clarify things a little here: as Christoph said, we did contact
past contributors and ask for assignments. They had the option of
licensing the code to us under the dual license as mentioned, or
alternately assigning joint or full ownership of the code. As a result
of this the POV Ltd. owns (or has the same rights as an owner over)
most of the code in POV-Ray.

That aside, saying 'Copyright' in a file does not (as I understand it)
necessarily imply exclusive ownership of the code it refers to by the
party claiming copyright.

Let's take a hypothetical example: if I were to generate a derivative
work from a source that allows generation of derived works, then I
have copyright over that derived work. This is pretty standard in
copyright laws, and thus I would have the right to place my own
copyright notice within the file containing that work.

If the original work from which I derived the above example did not
require attribution or inclusion of their own copyright/license
notice, then I would not be required to include it. This does not
however mean that I own the original work from which the work was
derived. (It also does not mean I would not include attribution; just
that it's up to me).

-- Chris


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From: Chris Cason
Subject: Re: copyright/trademark/patent license questions
Date: 16 Nov 2013 04:16:25
Message: <5286f199$1@news.povray.org>
On 15/11/2013 19:14, clipka wrote:
> some money at them. I guess with the transition to AGPL they'd also 
> happily call in airstrikes from the FSF.

My understanding is that the FSF won't (as a general rule) directly
take legal action against GPL violators for code it does not own.

That's not to say they won't give legal advice/support (as mentioned
in the docs, they did provide us legal services in our license
transition).

The thing with the (A)GPL is that it gives us a fairly effective club
against violators, as the basic tenets of the license have previously
been demonstrated in court.

-- Chris


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From: Paul Wise
Subject: Re: copyright/trademark/patent license questions
Date: 24 Nov 2013 02:10:01
Message: <web.52915f8964b5854537a069af0@news.povray.org>
Thanks for the responses Chris. Indeed, copyright notices in files are legally
meaningless, they are solely documentation of who owns the copyright, it is a
good idea for them to be complete and correct though. Indeed, the FSF focus on
doing enforcement for software they own the copyright on. There are other groups
who do GPL enforcement (like gpl-violations.org and sfconservancy.org) on behalf
of other projects though.

I wonder if you could respond directly to the questions in my original post?


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From: Chris Cason
Subject: Re: copyright/trademark/patent license questions
Date: 2 Dec 2013 17:38:33
Message: <529cc599@news.povray.org>
On 15/11/2013 14:05, Paul Wise wrote:
> Will copyright assignment to POV-Ray Ltd be required for contributing to
> POV-Ray?

No, it is not a requirement, provided of course that the contribution
is released under the requisite license. The most convenient (for us)
way to do that would probably be to fork and release an updated
version on github. However direct contributions would also work
provided we had a way to ensure the contribution is licensed
appropriately.

> Are there any other requirements for contributions to the new AGPLv3 POV-Ray?

It depends on what you mean by 'contributions'. If you mean 'something
that will be merged into the official distribution' then it's both a
legal (as above) and logistical question; specifically, is the
contribution both suitable for inclusion and a desirable addition?

> Is there a contributor agreement? Is there any guarantee that code contributions
> will remain under the AGPLv3+ or other FLOSS licenses?

If they are provided under said license, I am not aware of any way
they could be re-licensed short of the contributor granting rights to
do so.

> What is the business model and structure of POV-Ray Ltd?

The company is registered here in Australia as a regular incorporated
Pty. Ltd. It does not have any 'business model' per se as it does not
sell anything nor receive funds.

> Is POV-Ray Ltd a registered non-profit? 

No. Ironically one of the reasons it is not is that it doesn't make
enough money (specifically, none at all), meaning it would not make
sense to spend the money to try to gain such registration.

> Can we donate towards server development and other costs?

Historically we have not solicited funds. On the occasions people have
kindly offered to help, we have either declined or pointed them
towards other means of assistance (e.g. purchasing hardware). We do
from time to time feature wish lists for team members on the site
(usually for things such as programming books or whatever).

> What are POV-Ray Ltd plans for license enforcement?

Any issues would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

> What is the reason for the documentation being under a non-commercial-only
> license? Is there any chance of adopting CC-BY-SA-3.0 for the documentation?
> 
> The CC-BY-SA-3.0 license requires that all derivative works are licensed under
> the same license. As far as I can tell this means that all scenes rendered with
> POV-Ray that use the SDL includes, macros or are derived from the sample scenes
> must be CC-BY-SA-3.0. I expect this would be problematic for some users of
> POV-Ray who might want to use different licenses for their scenes. The CC0
> license might be more appropriate since it is intended to be equivalent to
> public domain where possible and extremely permissive where not possible. Is
> there any chance of adopting CC0 for the SDL includes, macros and sample scenes?
> 
> https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

I'd have to look into this.

> Is there a trademark policy? Either way I would like to suggest adopting
> something like the Debian trademark policy, which aims for maximum use by the
> community while protecting the community from misuse of the trademarks.
> 
> http://www.debian.org/trademark
> 
> While there are probably no patent concerns, I would like to point out Debian's
> patent policy and patent FAQ.
> 
> http://www.debian.org/reports/patent-faq
> http://www.debian.org/legal/patent

Thanks for the pointers, I'll take a look at them.

regards,

-- Chris


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