Suggestion on attribution/share-alike license

Michael A. Olson mao at
Wed Oct 1 12:48:32 EDT 2003


We've done the legal review we need to do of the attribution/share-alike
license, and we will use it for the Berkeley DB XML Getting Started
Guides.  Thanks for your hard work in making this license available to
the community.

I want to offer one suggestion that came out of our review.

I'm referring here to the actual license text at

The intent of the license is to make a document available for use,
modification and redistribution, provided that everyone down the line
follows exactly those same rules.  This is accomplished by combining
the license grant in section 3 with the restrictions in 4.

 From our point of view, we want to make our content available to others,
and to be able to redistribute their improvements from our site.  As
a result, we look at the license as a grant to third parties with a
required grant-back to us under the same terms.

It is a curious property of this license that the grant-back is actually
spelled out in the restrictions.  That is, 4(a) and 4(b) include the
language "only under the terms of this license".  This accomplishes the
intent, but not as clearly as it could.

I suggest adding a paragraph after 3(d) to the grant, which says

	Any distribution of this Work, or of a Derivative Work, shall be
	under the terms of this License.  All parties, including the
	Original Author, shall have the these rights and obligations with
	respect to such distribution.

I believe this improves clarity by making the grant-back explicit in the
part of the license that deals with grants.  It took some noodling by our
attorneys to get comfortable with the structure here, and the additional
clarity would help.

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