ActivePerl Community License unclarity

Posted by cavac on 2012-01-08 10:51

I'm a bit unclear about some clauses in the ActivePerl Community License Agreement.

The questions revolve about the scope of "outside use". The license reads:

4. Restrictions.

   1. a. Except as expressly provided herein You may not: (i) permit others outside Your organization to use the Software;

Now say, i run something like HTTP::Server::Simple::CGI as a public webserver. Technically, from my point of view at least, "the Software" (e.g. ActivePerl) is only used inside my organization, the outside end user interacts with my webserver and the user has no access to ActivePerl scripting itself, hence this does not violate the agreement. Correct?

ActiveState Staff
Fri, 2012-01-13 13:25

Exactly right.

cavac | Mon, 2012-01-16 13:31

Thanks for the clarification!

ActiveState Staff
Fri, 2012-07-13 07:44

It depends on which license your ActivePerl originally shipped with.

For language products with licenses issued prior to November 15, 2010, this usage is permitted.

As of November 15, 2010, the wording around the definition of distribution changes (Section 4. Restrictions) to include hosted applications and software-as-a-service, neither of which were really factors when the license was first crafted, and that, coupled with the clause permitting "use, copy, and distribute the Software solely for Your organization’s internal use and or internal business operation purposes" means that many use cases like yours should have a Business Edition license.

The Business Edition product license, which has different terms, clearly permits usage through a webserver. The product description page
indicates that external-facing servers should have a Business Edition license, in order to take advantage of the more generous usage conditions.

However, the blanket statement on the Business Edition product page is currently too restrictive, as it sounds like it applies to any use on an external-facing server. The Business Edition license is only intended to be required if the language product is used to directly provide content through the webserver, and after the site goes into production. If the site is internal, the usage of the language is administrative/internal, or the site never goes into production, then the Community Edition license is still valid.

There is currently no enforcement mechanism, other than the honor system, so if you are using a product with a license issued after November 15, 2010, the onus is currently on the user to come forward and acquire a Business Edition license at the point the site goes into production. Lack of a BE license will not block any functionality, but it may be a very sensible thing to get anyway, as the BE license will permit continued access to software installers and other resources for the Perl you have in production after those resources are no longer accessible to the general community.

The terms of the license shipped with future products may change to more clearly delineate when a Business Edition license is needed.

cavac | Fri, 2012-07-13 08:51

"In production" means that the project is a commercial project that is (or is trying to) make money?

What i mean is, is the Business Edition also required for non commercial projects? For example, if i where to run my personal blog (without ads or anything) as a public website, would this fall under "in production"?

ActiveState Staff
Tue, 2012-07-24 12:48

This clause is intended to cover that exemption:

You are excluded from the foregoing restrictions in this paragraph 4b if You are using the Software for non-commercial purposes as determined by ACTIVESTATE at its sole discretion or if You are using the Software solely for Your organization’s internal use and or internal business operation purposes.