License updated without my consent

Coordinator
Jun 1, 2007 at 4:38 PM
Folks, for anyone that's subscribed to a feed on this project like me, you may have noticed that the License for the project was recently updated. Let me first state for the record that this was done without my knowledge or consent - it just happened overnight, and it's as much news to me as to any of you.

Second, I don't know what the Codeplex team thinks they're doing, but I think they're awfully confused about the difference between (a) releasing an updated License and (b) updating the License on existing projects:
  • the former is totally fine in my books. If you find flaws in the current version of something, you should feel free to release updates to it - whether it be software, license agreements or personal statements of belief
  • the latter has two problems: retroactivity and ownership.
    • IANAL, but publishing an updated License for existing code & releases cannot possibly mean that the already-released code/products will retroactively inherit the License. I have to believe that anyone who downloaded (and subsequently used) a "work" based on an older license is only bound to the License that was attached at the time of the download. However, just spewing a new License to the site (not attached to a specific work) could be misconstrued as intending to apply to everything that already exists on the site - and that's certainly a misunderstanding I don't want to encourage.
    • More importantly, though, as the author of the stuff to which the License applies (code and derivative works), I'm shocked and offended that someone else would decide whether and when to attach a new License to my site. I didn't have any problem with the old License, nor did I have an opportunity to vet the new License before it was blindly applied to my site. I'm not even sure how to appeal or reverse this kind of change, since I have no way of knowing who did it (other than "Codeplex" in the abstract).

I'm going to investigate this, and you can be sure I'm going to diff every character of the new License to see what changed (if anything), but even if there were no substantive changes to the text, rest assured that changes "behind my back" will not be tolerated. There are plenty of other source-management tools out there - it's not like I'm beholden to Codeplex or Microsoft, even if they were once paying my paycheque.
Coordinator
Jun 1, 2007 at 6:20 PM

MikeSL wrote:
...
I'm going to investigate this, and you can be sure I'm going to diff every character of the new License to see what changed (if anything), but even if there were no substantive changes to the text, rest assured that changes "behind my back" will not be tolerated. There are plenty of other source-management tools out there - it's not like I'm beholden to Codeplex or Microsoft, even if they were once paying my paycheque.


My visual review of the original and current Licenses hasn't uncovered any substantive changes, but I can't say that makes me feel any better about the fact that this was done without my consent, without any notice from Codeplex, and without any recourse to find who did it and request that it be reversed.

I'm hoping this was just a well-intentioned but poorly-executed move by the Codeplex folks, and that it wasn't widespread. The alternative makes me feel pretty icky, frankly.
Coordinator
Dec 6, 2007 at 7:28 PM
I really don't believe the CodePlex folks! They did it AGAIN!!!

They have changed the license that was applied to my project, WITHOUT CONSENT, WITHOUT WARNING, as if they have some right to decide under what terms this project and its work products are to be licensed.

DO THESE MORONS NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT A "LICENSE" MEANS? Do they NOT understand the notion of who it is that has the RIGHT to change the terms of a license agreement (i.e. the author/creator/owner, not the hosting provider)?

I am really beginning to believe that these people don't take seriously the responsibility they've taken on in hosting an open-source community site like this. You would NEVER see Sourceforge screw with a project's licenses - neither would they change what license applies to any project, nor would they change any text or metadata related to an existing license.

I really don't care if the substance of the license hasn't changed, only the title attached to the license. The plain fact remains that they have changed the license that is being applied to this project, and they are doing it WITHOUT the authority to do so.

I am so frustrated with this I could spit!!! Is Microsoft employing children to run this service now?
Coordinator
Dec 26, 2007 at 9:14 PM
I've blogged more about this, in the hopes that somehow this problem will make its way into the hands of the folks operating this service.