FAQ
Audrey Tang's recent blog entry mentions her decision to move Pugs away
from Artistic 2 licensing because of Artistic 2 compilation copyright
licensing conflicts between inclusion of Pugs source into Perl6/Artistic2
and Pugs's inclusion of LGPL code in its source tree.

It sounds like the motivation behind Artistic 2 is benevolent. But Audrey
specifically mentions compilation copyrights. I don't understand the
implications of how compilation copyrights pan out with respect to the
Artistic 2 license, the Perl 6 distribution as a whole, and the
inclusion of 3rd party contributions using public domain or different
copyleft licenses.

Q1: Could you explain why the inclusion of LGPL code into an otherwise
Artistic2 source tree is legally dangerous?

Q2: Does a compilation copyright exist if it isn't asserted or registered?

Q3: Why does TPF or any open source project need a "compilation
copyright"? I.e. why aren't the copyrights on the contributed works
enough?
On the perl6-internals list back in October 2005, Allision Randal wrote:

So, with Perl 5, Larry is the compilation owner. The problem with that
is it makes Larry personally liable for any action brought against
Perl
Q4: Where is Larry attributed as the compilation owner?

Q5: What legal liabilites would contributors be protected from if TPF
holds compilation copyrights for Perl?

Q6: How well are contribution copyrights respected internationally?

cheers,

Garrett

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  • Allison Randal at Apr 28, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    On Apr 26, 2006, at 18:40, C. Garrett Goebel wrote:

    Audrey Tang's recent blog entry mentions her decision to move Pugs
    away
    from Artistic 2 licensing because of Artistic 2 compilation copyright
    licensing conflicts between inclusion of Pugs source into Perl6/
    Artistic2
    and Pugs's inclusion of LGPL code in its source tree.
    Clarification: Pugs isn't moving away from Artistic 2 licensing and
    compilation copyright has nothing to do with licensing compatibility.
    There was a good bit of confusion there for a few days, but we sorted
    it out.
    Q1: Could you explain why the inclusion of LGPL code into an otherwise
    Artistic2 source tree is legally dangerous?
    This isn't specific to the Artistic License (in any version), it's a
    general legal principle. You can't give away rights you don't have. So:

    1) You can include a free software package in another free software
    package with the same license.

    2) You can include a free software package in another free software
    package with a more restrictive license (because you're giving away
    fewer rights than they gave you).

    3) You can't include a free software package in another free software
    package with a less restrictive license (because you would be giving
    away rights that they never gave you).


    Artistic 2 is less restrictive than LGPL, so that particular
    combination falls under 3. But, Artistic 2 code can link to LGPL
    code, which is all you need in most cases.

    Allison
  • Allison Randal at Apr 28, 2006 at 6:28 pm
    First off, a little explanation. As the Copyright Act explains in
    Section 103(b), a copyright in a compilation extends only to the
    compilation itself, as distinguished from the preexisting material
    collected and integrated in the compilation, and does not imply any
    exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in a
    compilation is independent of, and does not affect the scope,
    duration, ownership, or existence of, any copyright in the
    preexisting material.

    The owner of a compilation copyright has the same rights with respect
    to the compilation as the owner of the copyright in an individual
    work has in the individual work, which are the exclusive rights to
    reproduction, making derivative works, distribution, performance, and
    display.
    On Apr 26, 2006, at 18:40, C. Garrett Goebel wrote:

    Q2: Does a compilation copyright exist if it isn't asserted or
    registered?
    Yes. Like all copyrights, it comes into existence when the work is
    created and fixed in a tangible medium, such as computer memory.
    Q3: Why does TPF or any open source project need a "compilation
    copyright"? I.e. why aren't the copyrights on the contributed works
    enough?
    It’s the compilation -- the work that results from the collection and
    integration of the individual contributions -- that’s distributed by
    TPF and other open source projects. Without the compilation
    copyright, anyone who wanted to use or redistribute Perl (for
    example) would have to get the permission of everyone who has ever
    contributed to Perl. Pretty inconvenient, and not something most
    users would ever do, or be able to do.
    Q4: Where is Larry attributed as the compilation owner?
    Everywhere it says "Copyright <some year(s)> Larry Wall".
    Q5: What legal liabilites would contributors be protected from if TPF
    holds compilation copyrights for Perl?
    Copyright law isn't really about liability, so the fact that TPF owns
    the compilation copyright does not have a direct effect on the
    contributors legal liability.

    The Artistic License 2 in Section 14 (and Section 10 of AL1) puts
    users on notice that liability and warranties have been disclaimed
    with respect to the Package by the contributors and the copyright
    holder. Since a contributor only grants TPF a nonexclusive license,
    a contributor is free to also distribute their contributions some way
    -- other than under the Artistic License -- without a disclaimer of
    warranty or liability.
    Q6: How well are compilation copyrights respected internationally?
    They are recognized under the Berne Convention, the primary
    international agreement on copyright law <http://en.wikipedia.org/
    wiki/
    Berne_Convention_for_the_Protection_of_Literary_and_Artistic_Works>.
    Including the U.S., approximately 160 countries have signed one or
    another version of the Berne Convention.

    Allison

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