[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Draft new DFSG - r1.4

Bob Hilliard <hilliard@flinet.com> writes:

> Ian Jackson <ian@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:
> > 5. Restrictions due to law
> > 
> > (a) If in a particular jurisdiction any of the activities mentioned in
> > section 1 are restricted by law, then the work is not DFSG-free in
> > that jurisdiction.  However, legal restrictions which would apply to
> > any work which has the same general nature as the work in question do
> > not prevent a work from being DFSG-free.
> > 
> > (b) A work is still DFSG-free in other jurisdictions, provided that
> > those who control (directly or indirectly) the work and the conditions
> > under which it is distributed, do not have the power to lift the
> > restrictions other than by changing the nature of the work, and
> > express a desire that the legal restrictions be lifted.
> > 
> > (c) In the case of restrictions due to patents, the work can in any
> > case not be DFSG-free if any of those who control the work and the
> > conditions under which it is distributed are software patent
> > aggressors.
>      The DFSG is, and should remain, solely about the copyright and
> license provisions.  If the license of a work is fully compliant with
> the DFSG, the work is DFSG-free.  The author, through his choice of
> license, determines the DFSG-freeness of his work.   


The basic principle here is: "A piece of software cannot be blamed for
the idiot who authored it."  With free software, defining clearly
"those who control the work" is deliberately difficult if not
impossible.  We are concerned only that the bonds of intellectual
property law have been severed (or sufficiently weakened), not that
some particular group hold specific political views.  Some might also
want to declare that any software company found to be spreading
unfounded FUD about opensource systems should not be allowed to make
free software as in 5c above.  You can see where this could go.

To take an example I wrote about earlier today, (in the thread on
Ian's first draft) suppose some piece of software is released under
the GPL but does something that requires the payment of patent
royalties.  Suppose further that this piece of software is released by
the patent holder, who is an agressor as defined in the DFSG draft.
Now, suppose some site in Sweden (or in some other country without
software patent protection) takes a copy of the software and makes it
available there.  Is the software now DFSG free in Sweden?  A "No"
creates a very odd problem - what if one line of code is added by the
Swedish sit to their version?  Does not the simple act of
redistributing the software make the Swedish site the one who
"controls the work" as it exists on that site?  (For example, that
site could choose to exercise editorial control about which versions
they'll distribute, picking only versions they consider sufficiently

>      The laws of one or more countries may restrict where and how
> Debian may distribute some works, but DFSG-freeness is not affected
> by these laws.   
>      If any of the packages now in the non-us section have DFSG
> compliant licenses, they should be considered part of the main debian
> distribution, even if some foolish laws restrict their use or
> distribution.

Hmmm - I suppose; I'd still like to see official CDs without non-US
exist (although it's perfectly reasonable to expect that official CDs
with non-US included exist as well).

If we accept this view, then we _definitely_ need a preamble that
states that DFSG freeness is not the only criterion used to determine
if a certain package will end up in Debian or on any particular Debian 

Reply to: