[Grok-dev] Legal stuff howto

Martijn Faassen faassen at startifact.com
Mon Feb 15 09:03:44 EST 2010

Hi there,

Uli Fouquet wrote:
> Therefore I started a 'Legal Stuff' howto on grok.zope.org (not public
> yet):
>   http://grok.zope.org/documentation/how-to/legal-stuff/
> As I am not a lawyer (nor want to become one), I started to collect some
> results of personal experiences that might be handy for other
> developers.

Great idea!

> Before I go into detail, I'd like to ask for hints like links to already
> existing docs maybe valuable for usual development of open-source
> Zope/Python packages released on PyPI. Maybe there is even an already
> finished howto somewhere?

Not that I know of. The Zope Foundation does have some policies for the 


(see the Intellectual Property Policy document)

I note from a quick glance it's actually a bit out of date in the sense 
that it talks about a not-really-existing Zope Management Organization.. 
It also appears out of date in other respects. I think better not link 
it from your document so we don't give people the wrong idea. :)

Then there's this of course for new contributors:


Some feedback to the document:

 > Warning: Code hosted on svn.zope.org must be ZPL-covered!

I'd write this as "Code hosted on svn.zope.org must be covered by the ZPL"

You then say immediately the following:

 > If you reuse code from others with different licenses, add these
 > licenses as well. You might then have a ZPL.txt, LGPL.txt in your
 > project root.

The problem is that this you say immediately after the svn.zope.org 
guidelines, which make this tricky.

I believe from the top of my head that svn.zope.org *does* allow other 
non-copyleft licenses (i.e. no GPL), but only when special permission is 
given by, probably, the ZF board. More is likely in that PDF above, but 
I'm in a hurry. :)

 > 3. [maybe optional] mark each header file in your sources with a
 > license header like this (if you use ZPL as license):

I often don't do this, but I guess that's more laziness than anything 
else. I don't know whether it's required, though it is a community practice.

 > What license should I pick?

While I agree that GPL is a legitimate license to pick, I do prefer a 
non-GPL license myself for non-applications (libraries, frameworks, 
etc). That's for the selfish reason that I don't want me or my customers 
to have to worry about the GPL provisions, which spreads around. That's 
also, as far as I understand, the general philosophy of the Zope 
project. Anyway, that's just a personal opinion, I guess it doesn't 
belong in this document.

Another note I have is the pattern we've picked with hurry.yui and 
hurry.jquery. Instead of checking in a huge amount of javascript code 
that's under another license in svn.zope.org, we've instead adjusted the 
release procedure so that this code is downloaded and packaged along in 
the tarball just before the release to pypi. This way the code in 
svn.zope.org stays cleanly ZPL and we don't check in a huge ball of 
external code.

Unfortunately the license field in setup.py only allows us to mention 
one license. I've used 'ZPL' there, but that is somewhat misleading. So 
perhaps we should make it "ZPL + MIT" if the project that's included is 



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