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

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  • From: Mike Linksvayer <ml AT>
  • To: cc-licenses AT
  • Subject: Re: [cc-licenses] input requested: BY-SA/GPL compatibility - license scope
  • Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:26:43 -0800

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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