[R] ACM Software Copyright and License Agreement

peter dalgaard pdalgd at gmail.com
Thu Feb 16 16:30:21 CET 2012

On Feb 16, 2012, at 12:31 , Hans W Borchers wrote:

> ACM Software Copyright and License Agreement
> I have often seen the use of routines from the ACM Collected Algorithms, i.e.
> <netlib.org/toms/> (CALGO, or Trans. On Math. Software, TOMS), in Open Source
> programs, maybe also in some R packages --- and sometimes these programs are
> distributed under the GPL license, sometimes under proprietary licenses, e.g.
> in Scilab.
> The use of these CALGO programs is subject to the ACM Software Copyright and
> License Agreement <www.acm.org/publications/policies/softwarecrnotice> which
> includes the following paragraph:
>    **Commercial Use**
>    Any User wishing to make a commercial use of the Software must contact
>    ACM at permissions at acm.org to arrange an appropriate license. Commercial
>    use includes
>    (1) integrating or incorporating all or part of the source code into a
>    product for sale or license by, or on behalf of, User to third parties, or
>    (2) distribution of the binary or source code to third parties for use
>    with a commercial product sold or licensed by, or on behalf of, User.
> I assume that this license extension is not compatible with GPL, but I may be
> wrong here. So my question is: Can software from the ACM Collected Algorithms
> be distributed under a GPL-compatible licence, and how to formulate and where
> to put such a license extension.

One needs to tread _really_ carefully with these items. 

You plain can't claim that the ACM license is compatible with the GPL; it just isn't. However, there are cases where software has been placed in the Public Domain in addition to being published by an ACM Journal. E.g., the NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center) library is in the Public Domain even though some of its routines have been published in TOMS.

However, I am not a lawyer, etc...


> Thanks
> Hans Werner
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Peter Dalgaard, Professor
Center for Statistics, Copenhagen Business School
Solbjerg Plads 3, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Phone: (+45)38153501
Email: pd.mes at cbs.dk  Priv: PDalgd at gmail.com

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