TinyTM - Legal Stuff
- TinyTM protocol is licensed under the "LGPL
V2.1 or higher".
- TinyTM rest of the TinyTM code is licensed under the "GPL
V2.0 or higher".
- TinyTM documentation (and the contents on this web site) is licensed
under the Creative Common's Attribution
We have carefully weighted the reasons for choosing the licensing:
Why LGPL V2.1 for the Protocol?
The decision for "LGPL V2.1 or higher" for the protocol code has been taken
in order to allow closed-source applications to integrate with TinyTM backends.
This option may provide an opportunity for smaller TM vendors to take
advantage of the TinyTM dynamics. We believe that the availability of commercial
grade TM clients could accelerate the acceptance of TinyTM in environments
such as large LSPs and international organizations.
Why "GPL V2.0 or higher" for the TinyTM Code?
We have considered the following options for the licensing of TinyTM code:
- GPL V2
This is the default license for open-source software. Most OSS is licensed
under GPL V2.
- GPL V3
This is the new version of the GPL. V3 includes strong language to avoid
patent claims on open-source software. However, for some GPL V3 is considered
"industry averse" and rejected by many commercial companies.
- Mozilla or Eclipse License
These are "industry friendly" licenses. They would allow companies to
take the open-source code and to integrate this code into commercial software
These "commercial forks" (such as the Enterprise-DB fork of PostgreSQL)
tend to limit the strength of the underlying open-source project, but
increase the acceptance with large enterprises.
FOLT members have expressed their preference
for a "Mozilla" style open-source license in conversations. However, we
believe that the LGPLed "protocol" code already meets the main FOLT goal
to allow commercial vendors to integrate with TinyTM.
The choice of "GPL V2.0 or higher" means that the code is licensed
both under GPL V2.0 and GPL V3.0. This way, we can guarantee a
GPLed "leveled playing field" for all participants (encourage
industry collaboration) and we maintain the option to move to GPL V3.0 if
the project should encounter serious patent threats (please see below).
Legal Threats to TinyTM
A successful TinyTM project will pose a threat to several companies in
the translation industry who offer both software and translation serivices.
Not only would these companies loose revenues from their technology, they
would also loose a large part of their service revenues once their customers
become freed from the lock-in created by their proprietary technology.
These companies won't wait and see until their market share erodes. So
the TinyTM as organizations should take precautions to deal to possible
- Patent infringement claims
Industry players may have filed patents covering their TM technology
- Copyright infringement claims
Industry players claim that TinyTM infringes their intellectual property
Strategies Against Legal threats
The main target for patent infringements is probably the TinyTM
server because TinyTM employees several advanced algorithms for indexing
and fuzzy searching.
- The main defense strategy is to "hide" the particular server implementation
from the clients via the TinyTM
protocol. This way, the development team can rewrite the server once
a patent claim should be filed.
- Also, the adoption of the GPL V3.0 license might be an interesting step
to avoid any patent claims in the future.
- FOLT apparently has the intention
to join the Eclipse foundation. Eclipse provides members with legal support
from very experienced lawyers.
To Do: Please check Google Patents Search (http://www.google.com/patents?q=translation-memory&btnG=Search+Patents)
to identify any possible patents violated.
- Violation of Trademarks etc.
The TinyTM team should avoid to mention the names and trademarks in official
communication of any company that might feel threatened by TinyTM.
Please note that there is more then one such company. About half of the
top #20 LSPs offer a mix of technology plus service. It is apparently
this mix that allows these companies to grow.
- Strict source code control:
Limit the access to the CVS source code repository to a reduced group
of people. Check every external contribution for possible infringements.