[open-science] Announcing the open source release of scholarly publishing platform, sci.pe

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Jul 12 21:18:58 UTC 2019

On Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 10:06 PM Mike Taylor <sauropoda at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi, Peter. I think what's happening here is fine.
> 1. The code is under the AGPL, and anyone anywhere can use it under those
> terms.

That's how I read it. The AGPL does not restrict usage. But the wording
implies that the usage is restricted to certain uses. The licensors do not
actually give the licence on the site ("AGPL V3").

So I will spell this out.
A commercial company can
 * take the code on Github,
 * compile it,
 * run it,
 * run a commercial service,
 * sell the compiled version, (as long as attribution is given)
 * edit the code,
 * run the edited code for a commercial service,

2. If someone wants to use it under other terms (e.g. to make changes
> and release them not under the AGPL) then they have to negotiate the
> right to do so with the copyright holder.

That my be true but it's not what the words are about.

The presence of part 2 doesn't impede anyone's freedom under part 1.

I would agree. Anyone or any company is free to do whatever they want with
the code without permission as long as they distribute it under a
AGPL-compliant system. If that is what is implied then the phrase about the
licence depending on use is seriously misleading.


Peter Murray-Rust
Reader Emeritus in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dept. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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