FTP-master has accepted this package to main. (Also mozc). Problem solved :-)


IPADIC is a Japanese word dictionary data designed to be used for the morphological analysis system to segment and tokenize Japanese text string into unit words. It provides many additional information (pronunciation, semantic information, and others). This license was deemed non-free mostly because of the lack of communication.

This decision caused other important software such as mozc, the best Japanese input method released by forks in Google, to be deemed non-free based on the ipadic case.

This is very bad situation for the next release considering its larger impact.

I, Osamu Aoki, think that the initial decision to upload to the non-free without in-depth discussion was flawed.

Let me review the whole picture to correct these. (I recently uploaded newer version of the ipadic package.)

Short Summary of Issues

The license is here: http://packages.debian.org/changelogs/pool/non-free/i/ipadic/current/copyright (Full copy is not here since it overflows wiki page)



Reason for being non-free: Distributors must follow the law, vague restriction on modifications.

The "vague restriction on modifications" was initially raised by Henning Makholm but it was dismissed by Paul Hampson in the original discussion.

The "you must follow the law" clause discussion was a bit superficial. I agree it was badly written poor English License text but the intent of the original licensor is clear and should not be interpreted this way.

This "legal" requirement is no more requirement than 7th term on GPL2.0 prohibiting distribution for patent infringement. So this should be acceptable.

The original uploader did not argue fine points and uploaded to "non-free". I have to say that this was not the best move which is causing pain now. (Arguing on license issue is a bit scarely for non-native speaker.)

I consider that this IPADIC License with ICOT term needs serious review and should be considered to be FREE License because of the rationale given below.

Longer Explanation of Issues

IPADIC dictionary used data generated by the ICOT thus it contains License text of ICOT. This essential part of the license goes as:

A large portion of the dictionary entries originate from 
ICOT Free Software.  The following conditions for ICOT
Free Software applies to the current dictionary as well.

Each User may also freely distribute the Program, whether in its
original form or modified, to any third party or parties, PROVIDED
that the provisions of Section 3 ("NO WARRANTY") will ALWAYS appear
on, or be attached to, the Program, which is distributed substantially
in the same form as set out herein and that such intended
distribution, if actually made, will neither violate or otherwise
contravene any of the laws and regulations of the countries having
jurisdiction over the User or the intended distribution itself.

There are 2 sticking points in the above which lead to the NON-FREE assignment as I read the original discussion captured in the below section:

For me, this text reads that ICOT license text is needed only when distributed material is substantially in the same form. It does not restrict distribution to be substantially in the same form. This should be NO PROBLEM. This has been the way people used to drop ICOT terms from some derivative works by naist-jdic and anthy people.

I think we should not make fuss on this requirement since it is nothing but a blown-out knit-picking of bad English by the non-native licencor. This text, as I understand, should have been cleaner if it was in the form of indemnification and/or was accompanied with more clarification text. But by reading the whole License, it is clear this is FREE License.

There was some esoteric dissident discussion on to the above requirement. Wasn't the original dissident test case for some impossible notification requirement? (I think use of "Chinese dissident" for our discussion adds unneeded color of western righteousness. We can discuss legal compliance issue for those OECD countries, too. Patent is one thing. Export control is another.) Let's not use this "dissident test" as label to denounce this software anyway. We need to decide based on its root: DFSG #5.


DFSG #5 is the following

No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

This is very simple text and has big rooms for its interpretation.

As I see Debian legal discussion, Benj. Mako Hill nicely put this situation as -- http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/09/msg00222.html :

You seem to be making a call for interpreting the DFSG literally.  I
think this is impossible. We should stay as close to the spirit of the
DFSG and we should rely on the text as our best clue. However, things
will *always* come down to human judgment calls at one point or another.

We have to make *human judgment calls* for the determination of the FREE License. GPL 2.0 is very good example.

GPL 2.0

Let's start one of the classic DFSG FREE License, GPL 2.0.

GPL2.0 has:

7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute
so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and
any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not
distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would
not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who
receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you
could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from
distribution of the Program.

It clearly discriminate against people living where software patent exists. This scope is US and other countries. Quite broad area, indeed. (GPL has some clarification text after the above.)

This discrimination was not considered DFSG #5 violation.

ICOT requirement was intended to the similar situation as GPL and its words should be allowed, in my opinion.

Hasta Siempre, Comandante

I understand a license could be called non-free requiring "observing the law" if the law in question is unrelated to the software use and/or distribution themselves.

If the law in question is directly related to the software use and/or distribution themselves, I think that the software license may avoid giving licence to the affected scope with a good reason -- to avoid the unbearable liability for the original licensor.

For example, a revolutionary like Che -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Che_Guevara, will not only disregard laws of the old regime and consequential limitations placed by them. (The real Che was killed by CIA in 1997.) So, in effect, the licensor is actually not restrictive at all to Che even if the license do not allow use and distribution of software when they are directly prohibited by the law. (I think Chinese dissident will act the same way, too. Oh, let's not also forget American "Rebels" or "Revolutionaries" who overturned British rules to establish a great nation -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party. I think they did too.) But by the mere act of distributing useful tools available by anyone including Che, the licensor may be exposed to the risk of getting labeled of helping evil communist such as Che. (Hmmm... I have seen a big iconic photo of Che posted nicely in the center of Seoul, Korea at an industrial exhibition site within a month after their nationals were killed by the communist north aggression in 2010. So Che may not be so evil after all in these days.)

But having such avoidance of license may make it more secure for the licensor to go to the Disneyland in USA to meet another iconic figures we Debian lovers adore such as Wheezy for his vacation without worrying CIA. That is a benefit to all without any loss to anyone. So we should not make fuss on the legal requirement directly related to the software use and/or distribution themselves on each jurisdiction.

GPL 2.0 limitation is one form of this legal requirement directly related to the software use and/or distribution themselves.

Common Public License (CPL) -- V1.0

CPL is a DFSG FREE License by IBM and has the following:

If Recipient institutes patent litigation against a Contributor with
respect to a patent applicable to software (including a cross-claim or
counterclaim in a lawsuit), then any patent licenses granted by that
Contributor to such Recipient under this Agreement shall terminate as of
the date such litigation is filed. In addition, if Recipient institutes
patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or
counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Program itself (excluding
combinations of the Program with other software or hardware) infringes
such Recipient's patent(s), then such Recipient's rights granted under
Section 2(b) shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

All Recipient's rights under this Agreement shall terminate if it fails
to comply with any of the material terms or conditions of this Agreement
and does not cure such failure in a reasonable period of time after
becoming aware of such noncompliance. If all Recipient's rights under
this Agreement terminate, Recipient agrees to cease use and distribution
of the Program as soon as reasonably practicable. However, Recipient's
obligations under this Agreement and any licenses granted by Recipient
relating to the Program shall continue and survive.

Although it is very reasonable, it clearly discriminate against people who are hostile to the upstream.

This discrimination was not considered DFSG #5 violation. This is another case where over zealous interpretation of DFSG #5 is not used.

We all distribute many FREE software which comes with the distribution restriction due to our beloved and stupid governments supporting US/EU/JP export restrictions (ECCN) to fight terrorism.

Debian takes measures on these but do not provide nor request such official requirement on these Legal requirement directory to the recipient. This is very smart move.

But other projects explicitly request such legal compliance on their web pages directly to the recipient.

For example, many apache projects has the following restriction for distribution. http://www.apache.org/licenses/exports/

ASF software and/or technical data may NOT be exported/reexported,
either directly or indirectly, to any destination subject to U.S.
embargoes or trade sanctions unless formally authorized by the U.S.
Government. Note that said embargoed destinations are subject to change
and the scope of what technology is included in the embargo is specific
to each embargoed country. For the most current information on U.S.
embargoed and sanctioned countries, see the U.S. Export Administration
Regulations and Treasury Department regulations.

You see the similar for ?RedHat: http://www.redhat.com/licenses/export/

If you call these restriction to be additional ones outside of the License, then they may be violating GPL's 6th term of requiring "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein" for the ?RedHat case. People do not make fuss since this is there only to ensure safe distribution under the REAL LIFE condition.

Key History of IPADIC License Decision

Key messages lead to NON-FREE decision seems to be the following.

Just a copy of License posted.

First, IANAL and not a native speaker nor a regular debian-legal reader,
but I can't see what is exactly nonfree in this piece of licence. In my
reading it just says,

1) Do what you want with it
2) Keep a NO WARRANTY section in the licence 
3) Don't do any illegal stuff

The summary was an oversimplification which caused wrong impression.

Apart from the "you must follow the law" clause, it also only allows
derivates that are "distributed substantially in the same form as set
out herein".  That is a restriction on modification, which fails the

2 essential negatives were pointed out. I think it was an out of context extraction and made them look bad.

Please note this was in 2003. In the mind of Henning, even the Licence of graphbiz (now in main) was not free enough to his taste in 2005 though he understood that the position of the FTP masters was different from his. Henning also said for POSTFIX (now in main, IBM PUBLIC LICENSE VERSION 1.0) "The patent self-destruct feature of the license is quite restrained and is within what we generally consider fair self-defense" in 2006. FREE LICENCES approved by FTP master was not good enough for Mr. Henning Makholm even in 2006.

> Which indeed seems a restriction, but a little vague one, especially
> as
> the first two lines read: 'Each User may also freely distribute the
> Program, whether in its original form or modified, to any third party
> or parties'.

What if you parse it as "the Program which is distributed substantially
in the same form as set out herein much have the the provisions
attached"? (ie "substantially in the same form..." is a qualifier for
"the Program" rather than a requirement in itself). Then you must keep
the provision in or on it, as long as you don't significantly change
the form. (Presumably that would mean significantly altering the
It says that the distribution must follow the law... Not that the
recipient must do so. So you'd have to be a dissident prohibited from
using a computer, giving out the software to others in such a way as
to contravene the local law.

So it _is_ still a violation, in a way...

One of the 2 negatives was negated. I agree with Paul on this negation. Please recall this license starts with "Use, reproduction, and distribution of this software is permitted. Any copy of this software, whether in its original form or modified, must include both the above copyright notice and the following paragraphs.".

> 1) Do what you want with it
> 2) Keep a NO WARRANTY section in the licence 
> 3) Don't do any illegal stuff

The last is the killer; say you're a suspected dissident that's prohibited
from using a computer or computing software, making your copying of the
software illegal. Thus after using this software send an email to 
journalists revealing the ongoing genocide of your people, and escaping 
to the free world, you are now open to civil prosecution for copyright 
violation. It discriminates against classes of users and thus violates
the DFSG.

As I understand, only a oversimplified "Don't do any illegal stuff" requirement killed IPADIC to be FREE.

But was this so bad? It looks very similar to GPL 2.0 case. So what is wrong with this FREE license?

If it was only for ipadic, it is not so important since we have one cleansed replacement package under standard BSD licence.

But mozc is affected. So we should not dismiss this license lightly. Since the ICOT does not exist any more, the only way to make sane situation is to reopen license review and give proper FREE status to ipadic license.

Background information