[% setvar title The Copyright and Licensing Working Group %]

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The Copyright and Licensing Working Group


  Maintainer: Bradley M. Kuhn <bkuhn@ebb.org>
  Date: 2 Aug 2000
  Last Modified: 28 Sep 2000
  Mailing List: perl6-licenses@perl.org
  Number: 13
  Version: 2
  Status: Developing


Copyright and licensing issues are bound to come up repeatedly in the development of perl6, both in new code that is created, and in code from other projects that is to be reused. The Licensing and Copyright Working Group deals with these issues as they come up. Since these issues are ongoing, the Working Group must live on even after the initial language design is completed.


The Copyright and Licensing Working Group handles the inevitable copyright and licensing issues that come up in the development of perl6. These copyright and licensing issues mostly likely take one of the following two forms:

Copyright and Licensing Issues with New Code

One major task of this working group is consideration of copyright and licensing decisions of code that is developed by the perl6 developers.

A copyright holder policy must still be developed. Some projects, such as Linux, use a system of separate copyright holders for different files, depending on who edits which file. Other projects, such as GCC, use copyright assignments to a single organization. Still other projects assign all copyright to a single individual.

All of these systems have their advantages and disadvantages. This working group is charged with the task of building an RFC that proposes a copyright holder system that works for perl6. As of yet, no work has been done on this front, since the focus has been on the license of perl6.

Second, licensing decisions must be made concerning perl6. The Working Group is considering proposed changes to the Artistic License. RFCs are now being developed on this issue, and they should be completed by the 1 October 2000 deadline for Larry Wall's perusal.

Licensing Issues with Other Code and Tools

In early design discussions, perl6 developers already started to propose reusing existing free software to make the job of building perl6 easier. Such code reuse is a fundamental part of free software development, but can be complicated by the plethora of different (and possibly incompatible) licenses used in the community.

This working group is charged with the task of sorting out these issues, so that the other developers can focus on choosing the right technology. When reuse of some code or a tool is considered, another working group can defer licensing concerns to the Copyright and Licensing Working Group. This will save valuable time and endless "Will this license mess us up?" threads.


There are three things that were done to create this working group:

However, it should be noted that this Working Group's life should be extended beyond the first phase of development. The need for licensing discussion will likely continue throughout development. (For example, we do not yet know what third-party free software libraries might be used to help develop perl6).

Therefore, it is requested that this Working Group continue to live at least through the early stages of coding, if not longer.


Pending issues for the working group include: