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   Re: SAX2: Which license?

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  • From: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
  • To: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 10:25:00 -0800

Let me pretend to be a lawyer, and then a consultant.

Pretend Lawyer:

It is highly debatable that APIs and other software to software
interfaces are protectable. The case law is muddled but the "common
practice" is quite clear. Would Microsoft allow Wine or Samba if they
thought that the Windows API or SMB protocols were protectable? How
about the re-implementations (against Sun's wishes) of the Java API?
Note that Sun protects the Java API through *trademark law* not
copyright. When Microsoft hacked into AOL's messaging protocols, AOL
fought back by changing the protocol, not by suing.


When people DO try to go to court about a protocol, it is typically
because they have embedded some trademark in it (e.g. Sega Vs.

I observe that it is the implicit concensus in the computer community
that APIs, protocols, and so forth are either not protectable or that
the case is so likely to go against you that it isn't worth trying.


What problem are you trying to solve?

Whatever it is, licenses designed for code are not likely to reach your
goals with respect to an API. If you want to allow anyone to use SAX
anywhere in any way for any project then what's wrong with putting it in
public domain? Other licenses exist to stop some particular action (e.g.
commercial use). What are you trying to prevent?

I use implementations of SAX (parser, app and infrastructure library)
that do not in any way use code from your site. I don't see how your
license can affect that use at all.

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for himself
When I'm gone, boxing will be nothing again.  The fans with the cigars
and the hats turned down'll be there, but no more housewives and
little men in the street and foreign presidents.  .... I was the
onliest boxer in history people asked questions like a senator.  
            -- Muhammad Ali

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