[freedict] Re: Licencing on dan-eng

  • From: Piotr Bański <bansp@xxxxx>
  • To: freedict@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2019 16:19:58 +0200

Hi all,

Please bear in mind that the final quoted statement ("People can choose which license to follow.") is not exactly correct. The way the license terms are formulated right now does not appear to allow a choice -- users *have to* follow both licenses.

This could be changed with an explicit "OR" in the availability statement, possibly with some further explanation. Compare the TEI licensing terms at


-- we've spent a while consulting lawyers about how we can handle the duality of licensing, and it's done by explicitly allowing a choice (OR) rather than intersection (AND), the latter of which can be extremely difficult or simply impossible to uphold given the openness inherent in the clause ("and any later version").

The OR would allow Sebastian to publish at Debian under GPL.



On 31/08/2019 20:32, Sebastian Humenda wrote:

Hi all,

Joe asked for clarification on this matter and hence I bring it to our list.
Joe has taken over dan-eng development successfully and already cleaned up and
extended this dictionary substantially. In his last change, I found the

     -               <p>Available under the terms of the <ref 
target="https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html";>GNU General Public License ver. 3.0 and any later 
     +               <p>Available under the terms of the <ref 
target="https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html";>GNU General Public License ver. 3.0 and any later 
version</ref> and all changes after version 0.3 (0.3 included) is also released under Text of Creative 
Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License and any later version (dual license).</p>

To summarise Joe's view, the dual-licencing is fine because the mentioned
licence is compatible  with the GPL. See below this email for an excerpt. While
it is true that works can be dual licenced, there are two things which have to
be kept in mind

1.  The dual licence must be known upfront, that is at the beginning of the work
     so that authors are aware of both licences.
2.  If a 2nd licence shall be added, all previous authors have to give their
     consent. This is required because otherwise people could just use an
     arbitrary GPL/LGPL program, apply changes, relicence the changes under a
     less restrictive licence and are fine. LGPL and GPL are simply too strict
     here and do not allow this particular case, except for all authors 

This might sound like nitpicking but I think we really should be careful about
licences. I will not able to upload the dictionary to Debian with the current
licence change.

Thanks all
Joe wrote:

GPL is copyleft, meaning you have to distrubute any derivative works of the 
original also under the GPL. If you use a GPL library in your project, that 
creates a derivative work of the library, and your entire project has to be 
licensed under the GPL.

One exception: if it's the LGPL (Lesser/Linking GPL) then dynamically linking 
the library does not create a derivative and you're free to license how you 

One caveat: you can also license your work under annother license. As long as 
people can get it under GPL, that satisfies the GPL requirements, and you can 
dual-license with MIT, for example. People can choose which license to follow.

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