JNIZ – or how a licensing fails

. Currently I am reviewing music software, as for example JNIZ. It allows […] to build and to harmonize several voices according to the rules of classical harmony.” [1] Although it is hosted on SourceForge, its license is ‘strange’. And by this, the author finally violates the GPL. A paramount example:
Let’s start with the JNIZ license it self. It says:

“Jniz is a free proprietary piece of software. It is forbidden to sell it. You do not have the right to sell, distribute Jniz or use its sources under penalty of law. You will infringes on the Jniz staff property rights.” [2]

Of course, each  copyright owner – in this case Bruno Grandjean – primarily has the right to publish his work under any license he wishes to use. But this right terminates where the strong copyleft effect of the GPL starts to take effect:

If one loads down and exgtracts the JNIZ package, one finds unter ‘jniz/ressources/LilyPond/usr/bin’ [no typo!] some LilyPond files, which ae explictly pubslished under the GPL  – as fo example the file ‘lilylib.py’.

Therefore JNIZ functionally depends on LiylyPond code, it becomes a derivate work. Thus, JNIZ must also be distributed under the terms of the GPL – which it currently is not. Hence, the current act of licensing JNIZ is illegal.

Today, I published a respective comment on the project review page [3] and sent a similar message to the author. I assume that he already wished to publish his software as real open source software and that he now indeed will do so. That would be a good solutions.

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