Date: Mon Feb 19 2007 - 19:17:22 CST
The ICU license is very clear, a non-copyleft GPL compatible, which is
one of the widest possible licenses (basically the only requirements
in effect are that the license/copyright notices must be retained)
since the license for BOCU-1 is not so "clear" or more precisely
deliberately conditional, the most effective solution would seem to be
(1) drop the BOCU-1 project
(2) use the ICU project
(3) avoid confussion with BOCU-1 spec, which means at a minimum
dropping the name BOCU-1 spec, and use the ICU project as the starting
point. he resulting spec would not be BOCU-1, either in name or content.
In the short term this means extra work but the result is something
that can be used long term.
It is worth noting that the terms of the ICU project mean that no-one
can use it to produce a BOCU-1 type license. The current BOCU-1
license from IBM is only possible because IBM themselves that the
rights to the non ICU project version.
The BOCU-1 license as it stands is not IMHO suitable for ISO, whereas
the ICU project license clearly is suitable for ISO. If IBM re-issue
BOCU-1 with a non-copyleft GPL compatible license then .
Even with a license such as ICU project, the question needs to be
answered as to whether anyone is likely to produce any serious
challenge to the license.
Speaking from experience some sort of "GPL" is one criteria I often
use to decide whether or not to be involved in certain projects,
because the license means that even if the other parties drop out, or
change their mind, ones work is not locked away to rot somewhere. At
the same time I know of some "wonderful" projects that I dare not
touch because of the restrictions placed on them.
Quoting Philippe Verdy <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
>> De : Doug Ewell [mailto:email@example.com]
>> Envoyé : lundi 19 février 2007 21:43
>> À : Unicode Mailing List
>> Cc : Philippe Verdy; Asmus Freytag; Frank Ellermann
>> Objet : Re: BOCU-1 spec
>> Philippe Verdy <verdy underscore p at wanadoo dot fr> wrote:
>> > So non-discrimination of licence grants is not the only issue ;
>> > there's also the risk of future claims to continue to use a patent
>> > that was initially licenced for free. We've seen much enough companies
>> > pushing others to adopt their standard with initial adoption plans
>> > without even saying what would be the future fees claims for those
>> > patents, and that suddenly come back years later to claim millions of
>> > dollars to the adopters. As this risk can't be eliminated, this also
>> > prevents the smallest organizations to adopt those standards, because
>> > they could not support the risk of future claims.
>> 'Nuff said.
> What does this "GIF nuff" mean?
> Are you talking about the past issue with the GIF format (closed now that
> patents have expired), or the past attempt to require licensing on the JPEG
> format based on patent claims that were proven to be invalid (also closed
> now due to expiration of claimed patents)?
> Such risk has been demonstrated, and has even succeeded in courts in the
> past, and this is why we need better legal protection in standards.
> Well, for now, all standards can still be challenged by patent claims
> despite they require now that proposers reveal the entire applicable patents
> they know. There's a "grace" period during which the standard should be
> published with provisional restrictions, so that the standard becomes
> "definitive" only after a reasonable time to let foreign patent claims to be
> But all standards that get the international approval (especially those
> reaching the level of ISO standards) should completely void further claims
> after this period, because those patent holders will have had enough time to
> inspect the standard and claim their right in time. To make this possible,
> the complete text of the standard must be accessible to everyone without
> restriction, including during the "grace" period. Then there's no excuse for
> patent holders if they have not exercised their right in this period.
> Such condition should be clear when organizations provide patents to IPR
> holders: it's the responsibility of the patent holder to exercise their
> right in due time if it becomes used in an international standard approved
> by ISO or by the relevant national standard body associated to the national
> patent bureau.
> Regarding BOCU and BOCU-1, IBM has correctly revealed to Unicode the patent
> claims they did, but IBM also provided a valid licence to the ICU project
> which is placed under the X licence which allows all modifications; so
> instead of using the specification published by Unicode, it's enough to use
> the publication made in the ICU project instead, and so the patent issue is
> immediately closed: you can use both the full BOCU specification and its
> limited BOCU-1 profile in any project which complies with the X licence
> requirement (notably, it just requires attribution in the copyright notice,
> but no further explicit license agreement by IBM, as the license is granted
> by the free and open-source ICU license).
> If Unicode wants to remove the license agreement, all that it needs then, is
> to replace the licence grant it got from IBM, by the ICU license and its
> required attribution notice...
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