Licensing various XBiblio components


I contacted Bruce off-list with licensing questions and he suggested I
take the discussion to the list so here goes.

I’m currently looking for existing code that converts MARC records into
styled citations: MLA, APA, etc. After a quick scan of possible options,
it seems like Zotero’s CSL repository and citeproc-rb may be the combo
that best meets our needs. However, the project I’m working on is
currently closed-source and I’ve been told that we can’t use anything

I’m not that familiar with what the different open source licenses mean
and I’m not arguing that the different XBiblio components should use the
same license. My interest here is mainly in trying to figure out if I
can use various XBiblio components for a project that is closed-source;
I’ve been pushing internally to open things up a bit at my company, but
I think that’s a longer-term project.

Here’s what I’m managed to pull together so far.

The rights statement for CSL itself (e.g., the schema) seems permissive:
“Permission to freely use, copy and distribute.”

I assume the Zotero CSL repository (as well as Zotero’s version of
CiteProc) is under the ECL 1.0 license, which seems permissive as well:

However, the license for citeproc-rb says:

Copyright © 2007, Liam Magee.

Licensed under the same terms as CiteProc.

citeproc-py and citeproc-xsl are under a GPL license
That would mean that citeproc-rb would be GPL as well, right?

Two questions:

  1. Are there any other XBiblio-related pieces (and licenses) I’d need to
    look at other than the above? My current understanding is that I’d get
    our MARC records into an input format that citeproc-rb accepts (not sure
    what this is… MODS?) and then CSL files in the Zotero repository and
    citeproc-rb to render the styles.

  2. Is it possible to license citeproc-rb under a BSD-like license rather
    than a GPL license?


Hi Steve,

The license consideration was an afterthought, and I’m more than happy to
release it under a BSD license.

That said, the code is itself is neither compete nor up-to-date. I’m hoping
to get back into this month, and will take your interest as some incentive
to do so. If you don’t mind waiting a week or so, I can provide an update on
the status of the code as well as a change of license.


Liam.2008/6/12 Steve Toub <@Steve_Toub>:

Hello Steve,

CiteProc-Py is currently GPL 3 (or newer). However, the license also
contains this snippet:

Contact the author(s) if you wish to use CiteProc-Py under another

license, e.g. for inclusion in (commercial) closed source


It is explicitly forbidden to use CiteProc-Py in such applications

under the GPL license.

I am the author of CiteProc-Py and can relicense the code under other
licenses, such as BSD. I am certainly willing to consider doing that.
Let me know which license you would require and also I would like to
know what it will be used for obviously. I am positive to a “trade” in
which you promise to put some development time into it in exchange for
"lowering" the license from GPL to BSD.

CiteProc-Py is not complete at the moment, but if I am not mistaken it
is further than CiteProc-Rb. Zotero is the most complete
implementation currently.



Thanks for this Johan.

As I told Steve off-list, I prefer to be flexible on the legal terms
to encourage adoption, but I think it’s in everyone’s interest that we
have robust, stable implementations in different languages, and so I
hope his company (and others) will see the wisdom in contributing to
the code.


That’s certainly true, in fact CiteProc-Py is considerably further advanced
and moreover makes some different design decisions (as a small example:
CiteProc-Py uses SAX, CiteProc-Rb uses DOM for parsing CSL). I’m hoping to
bring citeproc-rb uptodate over the next month or so.


Liam.2008/6/12 Johan Kool <@Johan_Kool2>:

Many thanks, all, for being flexible on licensing.

I’m just the product manager, not one of the developers, who are heads
down in other things for the next month or two at least. When they get
to this feature, I’ll direct them to citeproc-rb and the Zotero CSL
repository and encourage them to use rather than reinventing something
themselves; if they do and if they make any modifications, I’ll be also
encouraging them to contribute these back out.

Liam Magee wrote:

I’m hoping to bring citeproc-rb uptodate over the next month or so.

Fantastic! Thanks also for this.


The standard Ruby license - - looks
fine to this issue. Unless there are objections from the point of view of
consistency across various Citeproc implementations, I’ll update Citeproc-rb
with this license.


Liam.2008/6/13 Steve Toub <@Steve_Toub>: