License Profile: Eclipse Public License 4
EPL. This is addressed in Section 2.5 below. It should be noted that the term “Contribution”
includes not only software code, but a lso documentation. This is different from many other
open source licenses that cover solely software.16
2.2: Copyright License Grant
The EPL has a broad and very permissive copyright license grant, presumably modelled after
the statutory rights enumerated in Section 106 of the US Copyright Act. The grant is “non-
exclusive, worldwide and royalty-free” and includes the rights to “reproduce, prepare
derivative works of, publicly display, publicly perform, distribute and sublicense the
Contributions of such Contributor, if any, and such derivative works, in source code and
object code form”. This broad copyright license grant is similar to other “modern” open
source licenses, like the Apache Lic ense 2.0. Note that the “older” licenses, like the BSD and
MIT, have simpler and more ambiguous license grants, such as: “Redistribution and use in
source and binary form, with or without modification, are permitted…”.
The EPL copyright license grants rights from each Contributor. Thus, the user does not
receive a full sub-license from the person or entity that distributed the EPL program, but
rather a separate license from each author to their respective portions. This reflects what is
often ca lled the direct licensing model of open source software.17 This model is implicit in
many open source licenses, and is most clearly spelled out in article 10 of the GPL 3: “ Each
time you convey a covered work, the recipient automatically receives a license from the
original licensor…” It should though be noted that the EPL license grant still includes the
right to sublicense the Contributions. This may seem contradictory in light of the aforesaid,
but it is not inconsistent because the EPL allows sublicensing in object code form under
proprietary license terms in Section 3.
2:3 Patent license grant
The EPL also c ontains an express patent license grant, seemingly based on US statutory law.
This differs from the BSD and MIT licenses which do not even mention patents. The EPL
patent license grant is “non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty free” and includes the rights to
“make, use, sell, offer to sell, import and otherwise transfer the Contribution of such
Contributor, in source code and object code form”.
The license is granted from e ach “Contributor”, which, as mentioned above, covers any
person or entity that merely distributes the unmodified versions of the Program. This might
lead the reader to fear that by engaging in the m ere act of re-distribution of an EPL program
one would, as a result, also be granting a license to any patent that he or she owns should
those patents read on any part of the EPL program. This is certainly not the intention. The
EPL patent license explicitly limits the grant to “the Contribution of such Contributor”, i.e. to
the distributor ’s modifications, if any. If the Contributor does not make any changes to the
Program, no patent license is granted. This is a logical result of the direct license model
16 See for instance the MPL 2.0 (article 1).
17 Heather J. Meeker, supra note 14, at 29.
International Free and Open Source Software Law Review Vol. 7, Issue 1