Edwin licence

• Jan 16, 2021 - 15:18
Reported version
S2 - Critical

Edwin is published under the AGPLv3 with an extremely narrow exception, namely:

> As a special exception, permission is granted to include these font
> programs in a Postscript or PDF file that consists of a document that
> contains text to be displayed or printed using this font, regardless
> of the conditions or license applying to the document itself.

This exception is specific to Postscript and PDF files. As such it doesn’t apply when attempting to bundle Edwin within the MuseScore executable, whether normal or AppImage.

Considering the rest of MuseScore is GPLv2-only, it is not legally possible to include Edwin with MuseScore under the terms available to the public from the MuseScore repository.

suggested fix

According to its README, Edwin is based on a font that was released under dual-licence: the terms chosen for Edwin were just one of the alternatives, and the SIL OFLv1.1 is another.

Switching Edwin to the SIL OFLv1.1-licenced base font and licencing all changes from the URW++ font, i.e. anything done by the MuseScore developers, to SIL OFLv1.1, and then publishing Edwin under SIL OFLv1.1, will be a very pleasing way to fix this problem.


This might also affect the other fonts under GPL-with-Font-Exception, at least those where the version of the (L)GPL is higher than 2.

I’ve started an effort to relicence the MScore notational font under OFL and am tracking contributor agreement progress on: https://gist.github.com/mirabilos/cc7b9a4d28d897ce1a4eba8a909e084e

Bravura, BravuraText, Campania, Gootville, GootvilleText, Leland, LelandText, MScoreText, MuseJazz, MuseJazzText, Petaluma, PetalumaScript, PetalumaText, mscore-BC and mscoreTab are under the SIL OFL and therefore okay.

For Edwin and mscore, see above. We really ought to relicence both to SIL OFL.

This leaves us with FreeSans/FreeSerif. Since the debate around reusing Campania, I’ve not been embedding them into the mscore3 binary any more, so Debian is fine here, but upstream might wish to do something here. Merging it into the binary and then using the copy embedded into the binary is very likely to trigger the GPL, whereas “mere aggregation” is not restricted; perhaps if you just ship the .ttf files alongside and drop musescorefonts-Free.qrc and musescorefonts-FreeSerif.qrc? I can only advice here, as I found a workable solution for my GNU distribution, but cannot supply one that also works on Windows® and the Macintosh given stated project goals.

I've forgotten what debate there might have been about Campania, but my belief is that I did everything I needed to in terms of the license. If there is something else that has come up since, feel free to raise an issue on the GutHub site.

Fix version