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Isn't this just a problem with common law? In Civil Law, I would imagine the license in itself would be enough information, no?



No, because there's never been a ruling on legal interpretation of some significant clauses in the AGPL, some of which can create unexpected exposure of IP in unkind interpretations. You are correct in that people licensing under the AGPL are entering into what they feel is their interpretation, but a conflict over the terms of the license has not yet been decided impartially, meaning there is still uncertainty over how such a conflict would play out if pushed. Even for most companies with a progressive FOSS policy there is still a vast ocean of proprietary code and systems, and many companies (including both large companies who have studied the issue in my own career) have decided the uncertainty of that IP exposure is enough to forbid usage of AGPL software in totality.

This is not uncommon in the industry. To preempt that this attitude entails a hatred of free software or GPL-style licenses, I should point out that the same legal teams often approve GPLv3 software (which can be equally contentious).




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