[cc-licenses] input requested: BY-SA/GPL compatibility - license scope

Mike Linksvayer ml at gondwanaland.com
Tue Feb 24 15:26:43 EST 2015

On 02/23/2015 04:15 AM, Sarah Pearson wrote:
> This is the second discussion prompt relating to one-way compatibility
> from BY-SA to the GPLv3. This email relates to license scope, with a
> particular focus on how the two licenses deal with patent rights.
> As we all know, the tone and scope of the two licenses differ, due
> largely to the fact that the GPLv3 was designed for use with software
> and software-like works. Of course, both licenses are primarily
> designed to license copyright, but each license also covers some
> rights closely related to copyright, which means the scope of each
> varies slightly. GPL covers “copyright-like laws that apply to other
> kinds of works, such as semiconductor masks,” while BY-SA covers
> “Copyright and Similar Rights,” which is defined to include
> neighboring rights, sui generis database rights, and other
> closely-related rights.

It is not clear to me that GPL and BY-SA differ in scope with respect to
copyright and similar rights in any way that can be stated definitively.
If someone applied BY-SA to a work in which only semiconductor mask
rights subsisted, or GPL to a work in which only sui generis database
rights subsisted, people might debate whether anything has been licensed
in either case, but would anyone be willing to make a definitive
statement that could be relied upon, especially across all
jurisdictions? Nevermind problem of getting a definitive statement about
when only one of these rights and no other copyright or copyright-like
rights subsist.

In any case whether this difference is phantasmal or merely slippery it
ought not be an obstacle to compatibility.

> The most significant difference in license scope is the treatment of
> patent rights. BY-SA expressly reserves patent rights to the licensor,
> while GPLv3 expressly includes a patent grant from each contributor.

That ship sailed with CC0 being included in


p.s. I endorse everything Francesco Poli and Arne Babenhauserheide have
written in previous BY-SA/GPL compatibility threads. I really appreciate
the persistence of each of you. :)
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