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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