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Re: Interesting Licensing Issue -- Crafty



On Mon, May 03, 1999 at 01:12:25PM -0500, Paul Serice wrote:
> Maybe I'm uninformed, but Crafty, a computer chess program, is in the
> very near future going to have a licensing problem that is new to me.
> As of Crafty v16.5, Crafty meets the Debian definition of "free", but
> v16.6 (maybe) and v16.7 (for sure) will have a new license.
> 
> The problem is that persons other than the original author, Dr. Hyatt,
> have been entering Crafty into computer chess competitions.  These
> persons are downloading the source *** maybe *** changing two or three
> lines, recompiling the source, giving it a different name like "voyager"
> or "bionic impakt", and then entering the resulting executable in chess
> competitions.

If they are removing the copyright, what they are doing is already a
violation of international copyright laws.  And it's quite probably also
fraud as well.


> If you've been following the Crafty mailing list, you know that the
> proposed modifications to the license are substantial, but for now I
> just want to get at the heart of the matter.
> 
> 
> 
> Can Dr. Hyatt, the original author of Crafty, restrict use of the
> program such that he is the only person who can enter the original
> program into a chess competition and still have a license that is Debian
> free?
> 
> Can Dr. Hyatt forbid any derived works from being entered into a chess
> competition and still be Debian free?

In both cases, no.  What can be done (and should be done) is to make it
obvious in the license that such modifications involving just changes to
the name and copyright notices are not permitted.  This is reasonable
since doing so anyway is against Copyright law anyway.  Anyone who does
so is then notified that they face civil and possibly criminal charges
should they attempt this sort of thing.

It's sad that people would try to do this sort of thing, but
unfortunately the goals of Free Software prevent much from being done
about it.  =<

--
Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org>            Debian GNU/Linux developer
PGP: E8D68481E3A8BB77 8EE22996C9445FBE            The Source Comes First!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eric Raymond:  I want to live in a world where software doesn't suck.

Richard Stallman:  Any software that isn't free sucks.

Linus Torvalds:  I'm interested in free beer.

Richard Stallman:  That's okay, as long as I don't have to drink it.  I
don't like beer.
        -- LinuxWorld Expo panel, 4 March 1999

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