[GRASS translations] Re: [GRASS-PSC] Update: Translation Licensing
michael.barton at asu.edu
Wed Dec 6 10:54:18 EST 2006
On 12/6/06 3:54 AM, "Hamish" <hamish_nospam at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Markus Neteler wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> [ref: Web based translation platform]
>> I was contacted by the Rosetta team yesterday with a followup
>> of their license issue (Copyright for translations created in
>> Related mails:
>> Their new proposal/offer is that translations would end up being
>> BSD licensed, and possibly reused in other projects hosted on
> my take:
> "In effect BSD" because they can do what they like with it.
>> We now have to decide if this works for us in order to proceed with
>> Rosetta or not use it.
>> PS: Their legalese page is here: https://launchpad.net/legal/
>> According to my browser it was modified last 05.12.2006, 14:50:41
>> (the page is lacking the date, so I don't know if that's
>> the new version. As it doesn't mention BSD, it is problably
>> an interim version)
> [will someone from the Rosetta team be invited to join this thread, or
> will questions/results be filtered through Markus?]
> (it's a public list AFAI am concerned)
> First of all, I think Rosetta is a wonderful project and the world
> owes Canonical a debt of gratitude for it. It would be great if GRASS
> could be part of the action.
> but the devil's in the details....
> If I understand the legal bits at https://launchpad.net/legal/
> * All grass _("strings") remain (c) original contributor, GPL.
> This makes me happy.
> [If otherwise, my guess is it would be impossible to find+get 100%
> authors of GPL strings to concur. (authors who didn't assign copyright
> or co-copyright to the G.Dev.Team)]
> * All _existing_ translated strings remain (c) original contributor, GPL.
> This makes me happy.
> "All translations imported from external sources are owned by the
> translator that made them. In general, these translations are licensed
> under the same terms as the software for which they are a translation."
> "In general," ?! They probably mean translations imported from external
> sources may have started with a different license than the upstream
> package itself, but I could figure a way to reinterpret that to mean
> something else entirely. Vagueness in legalspeak is Not Good.
> This makes me unhappy.
> * Strings translated on Rosetta become:
> # Copyright (c) (c) 2006 Canonical Ltd, and Rosetta Contributors 2006
> [two (c)(c)? is that super-copyrighted?]
> Then Ubuntu, Inc. can re-license as they see fit. (highly doubtful, but
> legal, example: they make a deal with Ubersoft to license them for a
> zillion dollars to fund a corporate retreat to the moon. More likely
> example: they declare that all Rosetta translations are BSD for all)
> "C, Ltd., and Rosetta Contributors" is a bit murky. Putting brain into
> evil lawyer mode: If I contribute 1 translation to Rosetta, do I become
> a legal member of "Rosetta Contributors" and gain copyright to all
> strings in the database? (I know that's not the intent, but could it be
> an evil-lawyer outcome?)
> I am happy to have all new strings contributed from Rosetta dual-
> licensed. The contributor knew that when they submitted the
> translation it might, in some strange twist of fate, end up in a
> closed Ubersoft product one day, possibly with Canonical getting
> full financial and/or public credit for it.
> End run paradox->we own the GPL English strings, they relicense as BSD,
> then that is re-fed into Rosetta and translated back into BSD English.
> Which leads me to my next point.
> Let's be clear: a straight translation is a derivative product.
> I can't translate Harry Potter into Klingon and claim copyright on
> the result. Thus they need our permission to gain copyright on the
> translations. But often it isn't ours (collectively) to give away,
> it's the individual author's. We can't give away, and they can't take,
> something which is neither ours nor theirs. This makes me uneasy, but
> neither happy nor unhappy.
> * Someone like KerGIS (BSD) could only use re-licensed Rosetta translations.
> I am fine with that, but is it possible to separate the strings once in
> the system? If not, in effect the Rosetta translations stay GPL. (which
> is fine with me; it becomes Canonical & the other project's problem, not
> ours. *Their copyright header in the translation file needs to reflect
> that. They can't claim the entire merged file.*)
> Also there is this page:
> (Interestingly much clearer than the legal page. the software company
> is made more of coders than lawyers I guess)
> "Being an "official Rosetta product" means the authors of the product
> delegate the job of dealing with translations to Rosetta translators.
> They will just have to post new versions of their templates, and collect
> the fruits of translator's work before their release."
> Another point to consider: a lower barrier for entry is wonderful, but
> keep in mind that this can also open the door to undetected verbal
> graffiti in our product.
> I'd support joining Rosetta if the legalese is a bit clearer WRT the
> disposition of already translated messages.
> legal contract:
> * exactitude in https://launchpad.net/legal e.g. "In general,"
> * example of what copyright headers added to translation files look like
> * to attribute copyright correctly, do we need to have two incoming .po
> files, ours and theirs, then merge during build-time? ie how not to put
> (c) Canonical on stuff which didn't come from them?
This is a very helpful overview--and a good reason I'm not in the legal
profession. I very much like the idea in concept. I guess I have to agree
that the devil (or devel) is in the details. I read it much more
superficially than you did apparently. So I'm glad you've given it this much
Michael Barton, Professor of Anthropology
School of Human Evolution & Social Change
Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity
Arizona State University
More information about the grass-translations