[Haskell-cafe] Licenses and dependencies

Ben Foppa benjamin.foppa at gmail.com
Sat Jan 11 20:31:56 UTC 2014

Thanks for your help, everyone!
It sounds like leaving my open-source projects licensed MIT (probably)
protects them from retroactive ownership by a vaguely-worded contract.

Just as a disclaimer for all past, present, future replies:
No information from this thread shall be construed as legal advice; I'm
seeking to understand the *opinions* on what the law appears to be.

On Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM, Rogan Creswick <creswick at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 11:26 AM, Mateusz Kowalczyk <
> fuuzetsu at fuuzetsu.co.uk> wrote:
>> Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.
> I'm also not a lawyer.
> So overall, I think you're safe publishing under whatever license suits
>> you and it's up to the programmer using your code to decide whether or
>> not they want to build and/or distribute it as-is.
> I can't comment on the legality of this; it sounds like it may be correct
> in a technical sense, but in any case, I would like to plead that you /do
> not do this/, for one reason:
> Someone may want to use your project (and, transitively, the dependencies
> you rely on) in a binary distribution someday, and it's unlikely that they
> will think to check all the licenses all the way down.
> Granted, that *is* their responsibility, but I think it's irresponsible to
> create a product that "silently" causes a license violation based on how
> the compiled result is used.
> Please make a good faith effort to keep your software license compatible
> with the licenses on your dependencies.
> This is just my perspective on the question, and not something I'm
> interested in debating, but I wanted to put it out there since it will
> impact the usability of your software in some situations.
> --Rogan
> > Does making a project "PublicDomain" only refer to the code contained in
>> > that project, or would it (unintentionally and unlawfully) give
>> > distributors of that source code the freedom to not include the BSD3/MIT
>> > license files from dependencies?
>> Making your code public domain would not affect the dependencies at all,
>> after all, someone can come later, take half of your code and use it for
>> something totally different.
>> > Essentially my goal is to waive all intellectual property rights to
>> most of
>> > my Haskell projects, to the extent that, were I to unintentionally sign
>> > away my intellectual property, my open-source contributions would be
>> safe -
>> > what's the easiest way to do this?
>> I think you'll be fine just choosing the PublicDomain license option.
>> Things you can't do with such an option:
>> * bundle other people's code which isn't under public domain
>> * somehow enforce that only certain libraries will run with your
>> program: the user should be able to replace the BSD3 licensed
>> dependencies with their own if they want to
>> I think in the end, the fact that pretty much every package ever depends
>> on ‘base’ which is BSD3 and PublicDomain option exists in Cabal should
>> be convincing enough that you are in fact able to publish your part of
>> the code under more lenient license.
>> > Thanks,
>> > Ben Foppa
>> If anything's wrong in my post, I hope someone can correct me.
>> --
>> Mateusz K.
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