Re: Cypherpunks anti-License
On Feb 24, 2004, at 16:02, Hubert Chan wrote:
Please paste license texts inline.
Here we go:
The intent of the Cypherpunks anti-License (CPL) is to inform users
that they are free to use and redistribute the indicated work or any
derived or modified work in any manner they choose.
OK, that seems to be a very liberal permission grant.
Works distributed under the CPL are in the Public Domain.
and if the law allows it, that's fine too.
The CPL is not a license, it does not require the user to do or not do
anything; the user does not agree to any terms, because there are no
terms, and the user does not need to do anything to indicate
acceptance or rejection of the CPL.
The CPL serves to pledge to the user that the distributors will behave
in a manner consistent with the non-existance of Intellectual Property
(IP) laws as far as they are able. The distributors will not use or
participate as far as they are able to government legal systems to
attempt to enforce requests restricting the use, modifications, or
redistribution of the work for perpetuity. The distributor may prefer
to be anonymous to preclude attempts to coerce them into enforcing IP
laws relating to this work against their will.
AFAICT, this is a promise from cypherspace.org not to litigate about
this code. It is not a license term at all (as there are no license
terms, see above).
If Debian wishes to make this promise, then it is free to do so as
well; I'm not sure if we do. However, if we don't, then just delete
The work may be distributed with some distributor requests in addition
to the CPL. The distributor pledges similarly to not attempt to use IP
laws to enforce these requests.
I'm not quite sure what "distributor requests" are, but this appears to
be another promise. See above.
Users choosing to redistribute this work may change anything about the
work, including distributing it under a different license, and adding
or removing previous distributors requests.
This is another permission grant, and is actually rather silly. If it's
in the public domain, it can have no license. Ever.
The CPL is completely liberal. Here are some examples of implications
of this which are not true for many licenses. The user can
redistribute the work or a derived or modified work
* under a different license of their choosing
A derived work, yes; the work, not really. As in he could claim to, but
he could not enforce it.
* with or without source code as they choose
* without acknowledging the distributors or authors
* with false or innaccurate claims about authorship of the work
I doubt it.
* advertise without acknowledging the authors
Requests can be arbitrary, but are requests only. Example of requests
that the distributor may choose to make:
Ah, so that's what "distributor requests" are.
* that improvements to the work be drawn to the distributors
Would not be free if it were a requirement, but it's only a request.
* that improvements to the work be released back to the
distributor under the CPL
That one would be free, I think, because one could always license to
"all third parties" which is free. But, again, it's only a request.
* that the distributors name not be used to advertise derived
works without the distributors approval
Actually, that one is quite mandatory.
The distributor may choose to inform the user of his opinion of the IP
status of the work, for example by identifying any IP law restricted
aspects such as the copyright holders of parts or the whole of the
work, trademark owners of trademarks used in the work, potentially
applicable patents on algorithms or ideas contained in the work, but
the distributor is not obliged to do so and takes no responsibility
for the accuracy of such information.
We normally call that "no warranty of merchantability", but ok.
The rest seems similar in function to the GPL's preamble:
The CPL is written from a mindset which derides the very concept of
Intellectual Property restrictions as being incompatible with a free
Cryptographically assured anonymity and anonymous use of Internet
resources mean that denizens of cypherspace can ignore copyright,
licenses attempting to control use and distribution of works, and
patents on ideas. It is not possible to enforce IP laws by calls to
government legal systems when the flaunter is strongly anonymous.
The enforcement of IP law and anonymity are in direct conflict. To
fully enforce IP laws, anonymity would have to be outlawed.
Cypherpunks believe this would be a bad thing, because control of
information imparts power, and anonymity gives individuals control
over disclosure of information about themselves and their actions.