Request for info about the BSD licence change

Jeroen Vermeulen jtv at
Tue Jul 8 16:08:43 BST 2008

nglnx wrote:

> -- Am I correct to assume that suggestions that come from GPL projects will be 
> visibly flagged regarding potential licensing conflicts?


> -- Also, a related question: when you use a suggestion, does the string become 
> BSD licensed or does it retain the original license?

Assuming we're talking about a suggestion that was created in Launchpad 
itself: it will already be BSD-licensed while it sits in the database. 
That does not wait until you use it.

Note that for small amounts of text, or things that can't reasonably be 
translated very differently, copyright doesn't restrict your usage 
anyway and you can just ignore all of this.  In that case I don't see 
any difference between using a suggestion on the one hand, and writing 
your own copy on the other.  To be honest, I think that's probably the 
most common situation.

> -- What happens with changed in Launchpad translations? Since our 
> contributions are now BSD, if upstream GPL project has an error and you want 
> to correct it in Ubuntu, are you able to do so or not?

When you export those translations, you are generating a file that is 
essentially the GPL'ed translation but with some additions that are 
*also* covered by BSD.  That's assuming that you're making sufficient 
changes for copyright to have anything at all to say about it, of 
course; otherwise, the whole thing is simply GPL.

> -- Is the following correct? "Imports marked as published will retain original 
> license. Only contributions made in Launchpad will be BSD. It will be up to 
> the upstream to use it or not".

Yes, that's correct.

> -- Since it is asked that contributors licence all *past* and future 
> translations, what happens for past contributions. Do past suggestions 
> accepted, imports made, corrections to upstream translations in Launchpad, 
> etc., have to be reviewed to comply with the new requirements? That could 
> become a problem to those with considerable contributions.

The existing terms already said that the translations made in Launchpad 
can be relicensed to other projects, so as I see it, those terms allow 
this change.  (On the other hand, the FAQ said that they were BSD in the 
first place, so if that's all you saw, there is no change at all).

For suggestions from imports, we'll do our best to identify ones that 
came from published sources and warn about cases where there might be a 
problem.  But of course whether there really is a problem ultimately 
won't depend on any single translation message; it's the complete work 
that matters.

> -- Regarding licensing conflicts, your FAQ states that checking compliance is 
> the responsability of the contributor. Shouldn't this be included in the 
> revised terms of use page, instead of just the FAQ page?

That's a good idea.  I'm not sure it's a "term of use" in its own right, 
but it would be clearer.  Of course we'll also be mentioning it in the 
UI where it becomes relevant.

> -- IANAL and most of the contributors also are not. Has this licence change 
> been reviewed by one (at Canonical, for instance)?

Yes, it's been reviewed inside Canonical.

> -- Have any translation teams changed their workflow or membership 
> requirements in any way to reflect the licencing change? Being member of a 
> translation team, I would like to know how other teams are adapting to the 
> change.

Not that I know of.  In practice, we believe very little will change.


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