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Re: apache non-free?

On Fri, Dec 07, 2001 at 09:43:20AM -0500, Ben Collins wrote:
> It does matter. If "permission" has to be asked by each person who uses
> the source, then it is not DFSG compatible (nor is it compatible with
> even the GPL).

I thought we accepted a clause that means "you have to rename the program if
you change it" as DFSG free, but now I am not so sure anymore.  If we don't,
then undoubtly it matters.  We would stay on the very safe side if we would
rename it, because then everyone gets the renamed version and is safe, too.

> If they meant that modifying the source was a derivative, then they
> should spell that out.

They don't need to, as law already agrees with them.

> IMHO, a derivative is a completely new set of
> source, derived from the original.

Sorry, this wording is just too vague to make anything out of it.  What is
"a new set of source"?

> IOW, if I want to make a new web
> server made for clusters, and I create it using the apache source as a
> base, that is a derivative.

Sure enough it is a derivative.  That doesn't mean that a smaller
modification is not a derivative.  Your humble opinion is duly noted, but it
is not relevant to the Apache license or copyright law.  You can't just make
up your own meaning of words if you want to make a proper discussion.

I have done a quick google search on "derivation copyright law", and
the first definition I came across is here:


  A "derivative work" is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such
  as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization,
  motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgement,
  condensation or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed
  or adapted.

  Derivative works include works containing editorial revisions, annotations
  or elaborations.  17 U.S.C. § 101.

You see that even if you just _remove_ something (abridgement), or if you
just annotate it, you are creating a derived work.  For example, add some
comments to the Apache source code, and you will get a derived work.

Now, if you just remove a new line some where, you might not claim a
copyright for the derivation, or maybe it doesn't even pass as a derivation
at all, if the new line is obscured enough (at the end of a file, for
example).  However, in the spectrum of quantity rather than quality, any
changes commonly done by Debian are most certainly on the other side of the

> If what they meant was that modifying the source, even the slightest,
> meant you could not say it was apache anymore, then they would have said
> that. Modifying and deriving are two different things.

I would like to ask you to come up with some sounder argument than
opinion and analogy to house building.  Something that actually
establishes a connection to copyright law.  Neither you or me are lawyers,
and I don't expect a full analysis of modification and derivation.  But
surely something, like a quote from a law, law analysis or lecture about law
you must surely have in mind, and can provide it to us so we all can
understand what grounds you are standing on.


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' Debian http://www.debian.org brinkmd@debian.org
Marcus Brinkmann              GNU    http://www.gnu.org    marcus@gnu.org

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