Discussion:
Possible change to the MIT license
(too old to reply)
JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 12:25:53 UTC
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Hi,

Bitcoin is licensed under the MIT license (https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/master/COPYING <https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/master/COPYING>) which is one of the most permissive licenses widely in use.
While this almost restriction-less license has proved useful to many software projects, I think it could be wise to question its current suitability for this project, given the recent history.

The difficulty among the general population to distinguish between Bitcoin (the protocol and software) and bitcoin (the currency) arises spontaneously from the intimate entanglement of both.
The current list of Bitcoin lookalikes includes: Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin God, Bitcoin Clashic, Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin Hot, Bitcoin X, Oil Bitcoin, Bitcoin World, Lightning Bitcoin...

This recent flurry of hard forks is, IMHO, exacerbating the confusion about the very nature of the project, and harming it in many ways.

Although the liberal MIT license is (rightfully) beneficial to many other projects, companies and individuals, it is my belief that several projects are unfairly taking advantage of this generous license to attack Bitcoin (both the software and the currency), confuse the public, and gain personal profit in a way that is severely harming the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Therefore, I’d like to raise the possibility of amending the MIT license in a simple way, by adding a line such as:


***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN (CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***

(This is just an approximation. A final version would probably have to include a restriction to some soundalikes like BITKOIN, BIITCOIN,…)

This way, I could legitimate use this software to create my own crypto coin, or use it in Ethereum, Litecoin or any of the other legitimate cryptos, but I could not make my “Bitcoin Whatever” fork and keep using this software as the basis for it. I could also fork the bitcoin blockchain to create “Bcoin lightspeed” but not “Bitcoin lightspeed” for instance.

I know this would probably not prevent the explosion of forks in the future, but maybe it could help mitigate the confusion among the users and the harm to this community. Even if its enforceability is dubious, at least any infringing project would be exposed to some liability. I see myself some possible loopholes the way the license addendum is written. My intention is not to arrive immediately to a final wording but to know if there is some value to the idea of changing the license with this purpose.


Jose Femenias
Natanael via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 14:25:10 UTC
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Den 13 feb. 2018 15:07 skrev "JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev" <
bitcoin-***@lists.linuxfoundation.org>:

***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES THE
NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS THE
SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN
(CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***


That's better solved with trademarks. (whoever would be the trademark
holder - Satoshi?)

This would also prohibit any reimplementation that's not formally verified
to be perfectly compatible from using the name.

It also adds legal uncertainty.

Another major problem is that it neither affects anybody forking older
versions of Bitcoin, not people using existing independent blockchain
implementations and renaming them Bitcoin-Whatsoever.

And what happens when an old version is technically incompatible with a
future version by the Core team due to not understanding various new
softforks? Which version wins the right to the name?

Also, being unable to even mention Bitcoin is overkill.

The software license also don't affect the blockchain data.
Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 15:24:55 UTC
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If I'm understanding the problem being stated correctly:

"Bitcoin is under a branding attack by fork coins."

The proposed solution is to disincentivize fork coins from using the word
Bitcoin by altering the license terms. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me
that the words of the license are basically useless unless there is an
entity that intends to make use of court systems to threaten noncompliant
projects into submission.

In my opinion, the perceived attack on Bitcoin here is social /
marketing-based, thus it makes sense that any defense against said attack
should also be social / marketing-based. I don't think that Bitcoin should
be reliant upon courts or governments to defend itself against attacks of
any form.

On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM, Natanael via bitcoin-dev <
Post by Natanael via bitcoin-dev
Den 13 feb. 2018 15:07 skrev "JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev" <
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES
THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS
THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN
(CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***
That's better solved with trademarks. (whoever would be the trademark
holder - Satoshi?)
This would also prohibit any reimplementation that's not formally verified
to be perfectly compatible from using the name.
It also adds legal uncertainty.
Another major problem is that it neither affects anybody forking older
versions of Bitcoin, not people using existing independent blockchain
implementations and renaming them Bitcoin-Whatsoever.
And what happens when an old version is technically incompatible with a
future version by the Core team due to not understanding various new
softforks? Which version wins the right to the name?
Also, being unable to even mention Bitcoin is overkill.
The software license also don't affect the blockchain data.
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
Aymeric Vitte via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 15:45:17 UTC
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No, the problem is not bitcoin being under any kind of attack by the
forks for me, but the forks fooling people because, again, reusing the
bitcoin core code is too easy

I don't know if there can be a legal solution to this which would keep
some open source aspect of the code, but at least it deserves to be studied
Post by Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev
"Bitcoin is under a branding attack by fork coins."
The proposed solution is to disincentivize fork coins from using the
word Bitcoin by altering the license terms. I'm not a lawyer, but it
seems to me that the words of the license are basically useless unless
there is an entity that intends to make use of court systems to
threaten noncompliant projects into submission.
In my opinion, the perceived attack on Bitcoin here is social /
marketing-based, thus it makes sense that any defense against said
attack should also be social / marketing-based. I don't think that
Bitcoin should be reliant upon courts or governments to defend itself
against attacks of any form.
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM, Natanael via bitcoin-dev
Den 13 feb. 2018 15:07 skrev "JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT
THAT USES THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS
MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT
PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN (CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***
That's better solved with trademarks. (whoever would be the
trademark holder - Satoshi?)  
This would also prohibit any reimplementation that's not formally
verified to be perfectly compatible from using the name. 
It also adds legal uncertainty. 
Another major problem is that it neither affects anybody forking
older versions of Bitcoin, not people using existing independent
blockchain implementations and renaming them Bitcoin-Whatsoever. 
And what happens when an old version is technically incompatible
with a future version by the Core team due to not understanding
various new softforks? Which version wins the right to the name? 
Also, being unable to even mention Bitcoin is overkill. 
The software license also don't affect the blockchain data. 
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
<https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev>
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
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Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 15:45:55 UTC
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Anyone who feels so inclined is free to "pick up the mantle" and defend
Bitcoin against perceived social attacks. I don't think that Bitcoin
protocol developers have any particular responsibility to do so, and as
such this particular discussion is likely going to quickly veer off-topic
for this mailing list.
I don't think that Bitcoin should be reliant upon courts or governments
to defend itself against attacks of any form.
Agree 100%. Plus yeah, lotsa luck getting any success via those channels...
But assuming the answer to the perceived problem is to “fight fire with
fire” (using social / marketing based efforts) who “should” pick up the
mantle here? Without inciting riots by asking the question, wouldn’t that
ostensibly be something the Bitcoin Foundation would lead on here? <ducks
and runs for cover>
In any case, it’s frustrating to watch the ongoing FUD and scammery going
unanswered in any “official” capacity.
On February 13, 2018 at 7:25:35 AM, Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev (
"Bitcoin is under a branding attack by fork coins."
The proposed solution is to disincentivize fork coins from using the word
Bitcoin by altering the license terms. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me
that the words of the license are basically useless unless there is an
entity that intends to make use of court systems to threaten noncompliant
projects into submission.
In my opinion, the perceived attack on Bitcoin here is social /
marketing-based, thus it makes sense that any defense against said attack
should also be social / marketing-based. I don't think that Bitcoin should
be reliant upon courts or governments to defend itself against attacks of
any form.
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM, Natanael via bitcoin-dev <
Den 13 feb. 2018 15:07 skrev "JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev" <
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES
THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS
THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN
(CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***
That's better solved with trademarks. (whoever would be the trademark
holder - Satoshi?)
This would also prohibit any reimplementation that's not formally
verified to be perfectly compatible from using the name.
It also adds legal uncertainty.
Another major problem is that it neither affects anybody forking older
versions of Bitcoin, not people using existing independent blockchain
implementations and renaming them Bitcoin-Whatsoever.
And what happens when an old version is technically incompatible with a
future version by the Core team due to not understanding various new
softforks? Which version wins the right to the name?
Also, being unable to even mention Bitcoin is overkill.
The software license also don't affect the blockchain data.
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
Bedri Ozgur Guler via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 15:47:09 UTC
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Hello,
The use of name Bitcoin cannot be avoided due to it's nature of being a
Protocol. Prohibition of usage of it as a "brand name" is just like
prohibiting the word "Linux", which is the name of the kernel, being used
as a brand name or part of a brand name. If that had happened, systems
based on Linux kernel couldn't have used Linux word in their brands. The
licence in the Linux example is GPL but it does not really differ so much.
Making a protocol name a Trademark(TM) name and prohibiting it's use may
solve some confusions and bad reputation causing actions but it also
prohibits the protocol to be used widely so damages the credibility of the
protocol itself which was born to be an independent, freedom-based,
government-free, boundaries-free etc. approach to the current corrupted
monetary system.

If precautions should be taken to control the usage of Bitcoin word in
various positions and cases, it should be done in such a way that it should
not contradict with the philosophy of the Bitcoin itself. Social
/marketing-based approaches proposed by Jameson Lopp will be more logical
and freedom based. Trademarking and in some sense Cartel-ing the Bitcoin
Protocol who arose against trademarks and cartels on "money" will destroy
it's own roots and birth-right of existence in my opinion.

Bedri ÖzgÃŒr GÃŒler

On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 6:24 PM, Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev <
Post by Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev
"Bitcoin is under a branding attack by fork coins."
The proposed solution is to disincentivize fork coins from using the word
Bitcoin by altering the license terms. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me
that the words of the license are basically useless unless there is an
entity that intends to make use of court systems to threaten noncompliant
projects into submission.
In my opinion, the perceived attack on Bitcoin here is social /
marketing-based, thus it makes sense that any defense against said attack
should also be social / marketing-based. I don't think that Bitcoin should
be reliant upon courts or governments to defend itself against attacks of
any form.
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM, Natanael via bitcoin-dev <
Post by Natanael via bitcoin-dev
Den 13 feb. 2018 15:07 skrev "JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev" <
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES
THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS
THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN
(CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***
That's better solved with trademarks. (whoever would be the trademark
holder - Satoshi?)
This would also prohibit any reimplementation that's not formally
verified to be perfectly compatible from using the name.
It also adds legal uncertainty.
Another major problem is that it neither affects anybody forking older
versions of Bitcoin, not people using existing independent blockchain
implementations and renaming them Bitcoin-Whatsoever.
And what happens when an old version is technically incompatible with a
future version by the Core team due to not understanding various new
softforks? Which version wins the right to the name?
Also, being unable to even mention Bitcoin is overkill.
The software license also don't affect the blockchain data.
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
Felix Wolfsteller via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 17:28:58 UTC
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I'd call the license change an attack on bitcoin if its code license
prohibited me to play around with it and call it whatever I the fud I want.
Other entities like companies, goverments and whoknowswhat might
prohibit that (in some countries of the world), but the nature of the
source and protocoll shall be Free (as in free speech).

Even if my code changes are compatible with the current blockchain as
per bitcoin core I would have the lifetime "threat" that one day my code
wouldnt anymore because of changes in bitcoin core, and I wouldnt like
to get letters from lawyers earning their money by sending out letters.

Besides I am not fully sure if I could sign the main assumption that the
forks "... [are] exacerbating the confusion about the very nature of the
project, and harming it in many ways."
Or at least I am not sure that the "harm done" __in the end__ is bigger
than the gains and the proof-of-spirit as well as all the insights
gained through what happens here, regarding Free (well, MIT) Software
out in the world. Yes, its not always pleasant but I think its worth it.

-f
Post by Bedri Ozgur Guler via bitcoin-dev
Hello,
The use of name Bitcoin cannot be avoided due to it's nature of being a
Protocol. Prohibition of usage of it as a "brand name" is just like
prohibiting the word "Linux", which is the name of the kernel, being used
as a brand name or part of a brand name. If that had happened, systems
based on Linux kernel couldn't have used Linux word in their brands. The
licence in the Linux example is GPL but it does not really differ so much.
Making a protocol name a Trademark(TM) name and prohibiting it's use may
solve some confusions and bad reputation causing actions but it also
prohibits the protocol to be used widely so damages the credibility of the
protocol itself which was born to be an independent, freedom-based,
government-free, boundaries-free etc. approach to the current corrupted
monetary system.
If precautions should be taken to control the usage of Bitcoin word in
various positions and cases, it should be done in such a way that it should
not contradict with the philosophy of the Bitcoin itself. Social
/marketing-based approaches proposed by Jameson Lopp will be more logical
and freedom based. Trademarking and in some sense Cartel-ing the Bitcoin
Protocol who arose against trademarks and cartels on "money" will destroy
it's own roots and birth-right of existence in my opinion.
Bedri Özgür Güler
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 6:24 PM, Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev <
Post by Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev
"Bitcoin is under a branding attack by fork coins."
The proposed solution is to disincentivize fork coins from using the word
Bitcoin by altering the license terms. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me
that the words of the license are basically useless unless there is an
entity that intends to make use of court systems to threaten noncompliant
projects into submission.
In my opinion, the perceived attack on Bitcoin here is social /
marketing-based, thus it makes sense that any defense against said attack
should also be social / marketing-based. I don't think that Bitcoin should
be reliant upon courts or governments to defend itself against attacks of
any form.
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM, Natanael via bitcoin-dev <
Den 13 feb. 2018 15:07 skrev "JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev" <
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES
THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS
THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN
(CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***
That's better solved with trademarks. (whoever would be the trademark
holder - Satoshi?)
This would also prohibit any reimplementation that's not formally
verified to be perfectly compatible from using the name.
It also adds legal uncertainty.
Another major problem is that it neither affects anybody forking older
versions of Bitcoin, not people using existing independent blockchain
implementations and renaming them Bitcoin-Whatsoever.
And what happens when an old version is technically incompatible with a
future version by the Core team due to not understanding various new
softforks? Which version wins the right to the name?
Also, being unable to even mention Bitcoin is overkill.
The software license also don't affect the blockchain data.
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
Cory Fields via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 19:08:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I agree that this is a bad idea. When trying to work around a social
issue for a highly technical project, a legal hack is certainly not
the answer. As Daniel pointed out, the result of such a change would
simply be that 100% of all Bitcoin companies would be told by their
legal teams to use the last MIT-licensed version of Bitcoin Core as
they would have no idea how to prove that they're not in violation. So
I think it would succeed in exactly the _opposite_ of its intended
purpose.
This software is meant to be free and open for anyone to use, unfortunately that means some people will sometimes do things you disagree with.
Bitcoin is a Kleenex, a Q-Tip, a Xerox in the crypto world. I think we
should just accept that as a feature at this point. Let other projects
faff about with copyright litigation and trademark dilution concerns
:)

Besides, I assume many/most developers would be unwilling to accept
such a change. Speaking for only myself at least, I would not
contribute under that license.

I must admit, though, that it would be fun to read codified
No-True-Scotsman appeals in a software license :p.

Cory

On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 12:28 PM, Felix Wolfsteller via bitcoin-dev
I'd call the license change an attack on bitcoin if its code license
prohibited me to play around with it and call it whatever I the fud I want.
Other entities like companies, goverments and whoknowswhat might
prohibit that (in some countries of the world), but the nature of the
source and protocoll shall be Free (as in free speech).
Even if my code changes are compatible with the current blockchain as
per bitcoin core I would have the lifetime "threat" that one day my code
wouldnt anymore because of changes in bitcoin core, and I wouldnt like
to get letters from lawyers earning their money by sending out letters.
Besides I am not fully sure if I could sign the main assumption that the
forks "... [are] exacerbating the confusion about the very nature of the
project, and harming it in many ways."
Or at least I am not sure that the "harm done" __in the end__ is bigger
than the gains and the proof-of-spirit as well as all the insights
gained through what happens here, regarding Free (well, MIT) Software
out in the world. Yes, its not always pleasant but I think its worth it.
-f
Post by Bedri Ozgur Guler via bitcoin-dev
Hello,
The use of name Bitcoin cannot be avoided due to it's nature of being a
Protocol. Prohibition of usage of it as a "brand name" is just like
prohibiting the word "Linux", which is the name of the kernel, being used
as a brand name or part of a brand name. If that had happened, systems
based on Linux kernel couldn't have used Linux word in their brands. The
licence in the Linux example is GPL but it does not really differ so much.
Making a protocol name a Trademark(TM) name and prohibiting it's use may
solve some confusions and bad reputation causing actions but it also
prohibits the protocol to be used widely so damages the credibility of the
protocol itself which was born to be an independent, freedom-based,
government-free, boundaries-free etc. approach to the current corrupted
monetary system.
If precautions should be taken to control the usage of Bitcoin word in
various positions and cases, it should be done in such a way that it should
not contradict with the philosophy of the Bitcoin itself. Social
/marketing-based approaches proposed by Jameson Lopp will be more logical
and freedom based. Trademarking and in some sense Cartel-ing the Bitcoin
Protocol who arose against trademarks and cartels on "money" will destroy
it's own roots and birth-right of existence in my opinion.
Bedri Özgür Güler
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 6:24 PM, Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev <
Post by Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev
"Bitcoin is under a branding attack by fork coins."
The proposed solution is to disincentivize fork coins from using the word
Bitcoin by altering the license terms. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me
that the words of the license are basically useless unless there is an
entity that intends to make use of court systems to threaten noncompliant
projects into submission.
In my opinion, the perceived attack on Bitcoin here is social /
marketing-based, thus it makes sense that any defense against said attack
should also be social / marketing-based. I don't think that Bitcoin should
be reliant upon courts or governments to defend itself against attacks of
any form.
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM, Natanael via bitcoin-dev <
Den 13 feb. 2018 15:07 skrev "JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev" <
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES
THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS
THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN
(CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***
That's better solved with trademarks. (whoever would be the trademark
holder - Satoshi?)
This would also prohibit any reimplementation that's not formally
verified to be perfectly compatible from using the name.
It also adds legal uncertainty.
Another major problem is that it neither affects anybody forking older
versions of Bitcoin, not people using existing independent blockchain
implementations and renaming them Bitcoin-Whatsoever.
And what happens when an old version is technically incompatible with a
future version by the Core team due to not understanding various new
softforks? Which version wins the right to the name?
Also, being unable to even mention Bitcoin is overkill.
The software license also don't affect the blockchain data.
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
CryptAxe via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 19:08:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
This is ridiculous. We shouldn't bastardize open source principals because
someone hurt your feelings.

This is how open source works, stop using it if you don't like it.
Patrick Murck via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 17:04:48 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
This is a poor idea, and agree that it’s largely off-topic. So without
wasting too much of anyone’s time here, I’d point out the following.

It is pretty clear that any developer who is subject to a lawsuit from
someone using Bitcoin Core software could point to the license (among other
things) *defensively* to limit their liability.

But who would be in a position to assert an *offensive* claim that their
license terms have been breached? Who would have a right in the software
that they are granting via the license? Definitely not the Bitcoin
Foundation


This software is meant to be free and open for anyone to use, unfortunately
that means some people will sometimes do things you disagree with.

-pm

On February 13, 2018 at 11:24:37 AM, Brian Lockhart via bitcoin-dev (
I don't think that Bitcoin should be reliant upon courts or governments
to defend itself against attacks of any form.

Agree 100%. Plus yeah, lotsa luck getting any success via those channels...

But assuming the answer to the perceived problem is to “fight fire with
fire” (using social / marketing based efforts) who “should” pick up the
mantle here? Without inciting riots by asking the question, wouldn’t that
ostensibly be something the Bitcoin Foundation would lead on here? <ducks
and runs for cover>

In any case, it’s frustrating to watch the ongoing FUD and scammery going
unanswered in any “official” capacity.


On February 13, 2018 at 7:25:35 AM, Jameson Lopp via bitcoin-dev (
bitcoin-***@lists.linuxfoundation.org) wrote:

If I'm understanding the problem being stated correctly:

"Bitcoin is under a branding attack by fork coins."

The proposed solution is to disincentivize fork coins from using the word
Bitcoin by altering the license terms. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me
that the words of the license are basically useless unless there is an
entity that intends to make use of court systems to threaten noncompliant
projects into submission.

In my opinion, the perceived attack on Bitcoin here is social /
marketing-based, thus it makes sense that any defense against said attack
should also be social / marketing-based. I don't think that Bitcoin should
be reliant upon courts or governments to defend itself against attacks of
any form.

On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM, Natanael via bitcoin-dev <
Den 13 feb. 2018 15:07 skrev "JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev" <
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES
THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS
THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN
(CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***
That's better solved with trademarks. (whoever would be the trademark
holder - Satoshi?)
This would also prohibit any reimplementation that's not formally verified
to be perfectly compatible from using the name.
It also adds legal uncertainty.
Another major problem is that it neither affects anybody forking older
versions of Bitcoin, not people using existing independent blockchain
implementations and renaming them Bitcoin-Whatsoever.
And what happens when an old version is technically incompatible with a
future version by the Core team due to not understanding various new
softforks? Which version wins the right to the name?
Also, being unable to even mention Bitcoin is overkill.
The software license also don't affect the blockchain data.
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
Aymeric Vitte via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 15:22:43 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I was thinking to post something very similar on this list but not sure
that it would get some kind of interest

Not sure how and if it can be done (ie license modification) but the
reuse of the bitcoin core code can allow even a child to launch a fork
and this mess should stop, maybe people like to get "free" coins but
they are misleaded, they can lose everything and there are some more
vicious side effects like replay protection collisions between forks,
this is already happening, nobody seems to care but I wrote:

Bitcoin Tartuffe, the ultimate fork - User guide: How to create your
bitcoin fork in 5mn, fool everybody and become rich
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/user-guide-how-create-your-bitcoin-fork-5mn-fool-everybody-vitte

--> this is a parody of course but very close to the reality, some info
are intentionally wrong

The madness of bitcoin forks: risk, reward and ruin
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/madness-bitcoin-forks-risk-reward-ruin-aymeric-vitte/

I don't think that it really impacts bitcoin itself but this is
definitely too easy for people to fork the bitcoin core code and launch
some shxtty fork

Probably nobody here follow this, as an example (among plenty) see this
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2515675.msg30173307#msg30173307
completely absurd mess
Post by JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev
Hi,
Bitcoin is licensed under the MIT license (https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/master/COPYING <https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/master/COPYING>) which is one of the most permissive licenses widely in use.
While this almost restriction-less license has proved useful to many software projects, I think it could be wise to question its current suitability for this project, given the recent history.
The difficulty among the general population to distinguish between Bitcoin (the protocol and software) and bitcoin (the currency) arises spontaneously from the intimate entanglement of both.
The current list of Bitcoin lookalikes includes: Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin God, Bitcoin Clashic, Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin Hot, Bitcoin X, Oil Bitcoin, Bitcoin World, Lightning Bitcoin...
This recent flurry of hard forks is, IMHO, exacerbating the confusion about the very nature of the project, and harming it in many ways.
Although the liberal MIT license is (rightfully) beneficial to many other projects, companies and individuals, it is my belief that several projects are unfairly taking advantage of this generous license to attack Bitcoin (both the software and the currency), confuse the public, and gain personal profit in a way that is severely harming the Bitcoin ecosystem.
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES THE NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS THE SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN (CORE) BLOCKCHAIN
***
(This is just an approximation. A final version would probably have to include a restriction to some soundalikes like BITKOIN, BIITCOIN,…)
This way, I could legitimate use this software to create my own crypto coin, or use it in Ethereum, Litecoin or any of the other legitimate cryptos, but I could not make my “Bitcoin Whatever” fork and keep using this software as the basis for it. I could also fork the bitcoin blockchain to create “Bcoin lightspeed” but not “Bitcoin lightspeed” for instance.
I know this would probably not prevent the explosion of forks in the future, but maybe it could help mitigate the confusion among the users and the harm to this community. Even if its enforceability is dubious, at least any infringing project would be exposed to some liability. I see myself some possible loopholes the way the license addendum is written. My intention is not to arrive immediately to a final wording but to know if there is some value to the idea of changing the license with this purpose.
Jose Femenias
_______________________________________________
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https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
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Adam Ficsor via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 17:25:50 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I agree with the opposition on changing the license, because of the
branding attacks.

However having two coins with the same Proof Of Work is a zero sum game
from a security point of view. It may not be a bad idea to consider
changing the license in a way that only limits cryptocurrencies with the
same Proof Of Work, since they directly affect the stability and security
of Bitcoin.
Daniel Robinson via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 17:46:18 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Custom open-source licenses are basically never a good idea. Every
deviation in wording from universally-accepted open-source licensing terms
is a major compliance headache from the perspective of any organization
trying to use the software. You don’t want users having to clear their use
of Bitcoin Core through their employers’ legal departments, whether or not
they would ultimately approve that use. For that reason alone I think such
a change is not viable, no matter how you phrased it.
On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 9:27 AM Adam Ficsor via bitcoin-dev <
Post by Adam Ficsor via bitcoin-dev
I agree with the opposition on changing the license, because of the
branding attacks.
However having two coins with the same Proof Of Work is a zero sum game
from a security point of view. It may not be a bad idea to consider
changing the license in a way that only limits cryptocurrencies with the
same Proof Of Work, since they directly affect the stability and security
of Bitcoin.
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-13 17:53:40 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
This would give too much power to Bitcoin Core, and implies falsely that
Bitcoin and Bitcoin Core are the same thing.

On Tuesday 13 February 2018 12:25:53 PM JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev
Post by JOSE FEMENIAS CAÑUELO via bitcoin-dev
Hi,
Bitcoin is licensed under the MIT license
(https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/master/COPYING
<https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/master/COPYING>) which is one of
the most permissive licenses widely in use. While this almost
restriction-less license has proved useful to many software projects, I
think it could be wise to question its current suitability for this
project, given the recent history.
The difficulty among the general population to distinguish between Bitcoin
(the protocol and software) and bitcoin (the currency) arises
spontaneously from the intimate entanglement of both. The current list of
Bitcoin lookalikes includes: Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond,
Bitcoin God, Bitcoin Clashic, Super Bitcoin, Bitcoin Hot, Bitcoin X, Oil
Bitcoin, Bitcoin World, Lightning Bitcoin...
This recent flurry of hard forks is, IMHO, exacerbating the confusion about
the very nature of the project, and harming it in many ways.
Although the liberal MIT license is (rightfully) beneficial to many other
projects, companies and individuals, it is my belief that several projects
are unfairly taking advantage of this generous license to attack Bitcoin
(both the software and the currency), confuse the public, and gain
personal profit in a way that is severely harming the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Therefore, I’d like to raise the possibility of amending the MIT license in
***
NO PART OF THIS SOFTWARE CAN BE INCLUDED IN ANY OTHER PROJECT THAT USES THE
NAME BITCOIN AS PART OF ITS NAME AND/OR ITS MARKETING MATERIAL UNLESS THE
SOFTWARE PRODUCED BY THAT PROJECT IS FULLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BITCOIN
(CORE) BLOCKCHAIN ***
(This is just an approximation. A final version would probably have to
include a restriction to some soundalikes like BITKOIN, BIITCOIN,…)
This way, I could legitimate use this software to create my own crypto
coin, or use it in Ethereum, Litecoin or any of the other legitimate
cryptos, but I could not make my “Bitcoin Whatever” fork and keep using
this software as the basis for it. I could also fork the bitcoin
blockchain to create “Bcoin lightspeed” but not “Bitcoin lightspeed” for
instance.
I know this would probably not prevent the explosion of forks in the
future, but maybe it could help mitigate the confusion among the users and
the harm to this community. Even if its enforceability is dubious, at
least any infringing project would be exposed to some liability. I see
myself some possible loopholes the way the license addendum is written. My
intention is not to arrive immediately to a final wording but to know if
there is some value to the idea of changing the license with this purpose.
Jose Femenias
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
Damian Williamson via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-14 10:09:25 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I do not know that Bitcoin's position is any weaker because of the terms that the software is licenced under.
Let other projects faff about with copyright litigation and trademark dilution concerns
I disagree completely with any licence change. As well as allowing for the use of a software, a licence is also a disclaimer for those responsible for the release. Changing a single word can have drastic implications should there ever be any action considered against any involved party or group. The current MIT licence is IMHO the right fit.


Regards,

Damian Williamson

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