Common reasons for rejection of licenses

  1. An express statement that no patent license is granted. The failure to grant a patent license means the license fails to meet OSD 6, 7 and 8. A license that makes no statement at all about patents may be acceptable, depending on whether the way the license grant is expressed can be read as an implied grant, e.g., the 3-Clause BSD License that permits “use” of the software.
  2. Badgeware. A “badgeware” license is one that requires that a trademark be displayed. This does not comply with OSD 3, “Derived Works,” because it prohibits creating a derived work that removes the code relating to the trademark. Although open source licenses can prohibit removal of author attribution and legal notices, a trademark is neither. It also fails OSD 10, because it presumes a specific style of interface.
  3. Non-commercial and ethical clauses. These are commonly seen attempts to restrict licenses in violation of OSD 6, “No Discrimination Against Field of Endeavor.” These types of clauses limit where, why and how the software can be used.
  4. Conditional licensingLicenses with variable outcomes like BUSL that delay availability of full software freedom won’t be approved because we cannot be sure that they meet the OSD for all use cases at all times. Licenses like the Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL) that apply different OSI-approved licenses depending on conditions have been approved in the past.
  5. Phone-home provisions: licenses that require that software interact with a specific organization, website, or non-user-controlled API both restrict where the software can be used, and prevent it from being used at all should the contact entity cease operation.  This fails OSD 5 and sometimes 8 and 10 as well.

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