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Re: Dangerous precedent being set - possible serious violation o

On Tue, 30 Nov 1999, Seth David Schoen wrote:

> This trend concerns me, too, but if you want to stop them, you will need
> to show why what they are doing is not only nasty but also illegal.
> Remember that the DFSG _prohibits_ licenses from forbidding the use of
> non-free software in a distribution.

It does? This is rather disturbing news. Why does it do this?

> > 	* You can't download this mixture until you're 18.
> I can redistribute any GPLed software I want under the Big Beard Agreement,
> where, to get the software from me, you have to solemnly certify that you
> have a big beard.
> Once you have obtained a copy of the software, you have the right to
> redistribute it freely.

Where does Corel assert that users have this right? If they don't read
those very words or something extremely close to them, they are going to
assume that they DON'T have that right.

> > 	* This is Corel Linux (not Corel GNU/Linux). GNU who?
> No comment. :-)

This is important stuff. Most people don't realize that "Linux" is not an
OS, and most of what they think of as "Linux" was created by the GNU
project, not by Linus Torvalds.

> > 	* We retain title to this software distribution, even though it's
> > 	  mostly not of our creation.
> That is a misrepresentation of what the EULA says.

How so?

> > 	* GPL? What GPL? I see no mention of the GPL in our license...
> That is also a misrepresentation of what the EULA says.

The license, apparently, _DOES_ mention the GPL; this is good. However,
does the EULA?

> > They're slapping this traditional proprietary software-like EULA on their
> > distribution, despite the fact that it's primarily made out of free
> > software!
> Right.  It's not all free software.  See the GPL's "mere aggregation"
> clause: the GPL does _not guarantee the freedom of an entire distribution_
> because some or most of that distribution is under the GPL.  As long as
> the proprietary license does not try to take away or limit any of the GPL's
> public grants of rights with respect to GPLed software, it does not violate
> the 
> Corel could say that only Canadians could use Corel Linux, if they wanted
> to.  Since Corel Linux as a whole contains some proprietary software from
> Corel, they are allowed to set such a condition.  Canadians who got a copy
> of it could strip out the free portions and redistribute them.
> Once again:
> The GPL does not give you the power to dictate licensing terms to
> distribution developers, as long as they do not restrict the rights granted
> by the GPL.  If you don't like Corel's distribution terms, you could
> - Not use Corel Linux
> - Discourage other people from using Corel Linux
> - Register EULA.org and set up you.should.not.accept.the.Corel.EULA.org,
>   and send e-mail from an account there (acknowledging Corel's trademarks)

I'm not going to acknowledge Corel's ANYTHING. Why should I?

> - Discourage the Debian Project as a whole from helping Corel Linux
> - Take all of the free software in Corel Linux and make your own distribution.
>   You could call it LEROC GNU/Linux, for "LEROC's, Eh, Reminiscent Of
>   Corel(R)", and license it under whatever terms you prefer.

You don't get it... by not mentioning that people DO have the right to
do all the things that the GPL permits with those portions of Corel Linux
that ARE under the GPL, 99.9% of their WinIdiot users are going to
assume that they CAN'T do those things, since 99.9% of them haven't
heard of the GPL in the first place. Corel is neglecting to remind the
users of their rights; while this is not illegal, it's deceptive and nasty
and very much contrary to the spirit of the GPL.

> All of these strategies are available to you without any requirement or
> suggestion that Corel has infringed anyone's copyright.
> > Something's gotta be legally amiss here, IMHO.
> Why?  There are all sorts of unethical, distasteful, or just unfortunate
> things that are not illegal.  If everything questionable or regrettable
> was illegal, we would have much less freedom than we presently do.
> Corel's EULA means that they are getting bad publicity, and ill will from
> some Debian developers, who may be less eager to collaborate with Corel.
> Maybe that will cause Corel to conclude that they need to clarify some of
> the points that are making people upset, or maybe they will ignore the
> criticism.
> But if you want to call their behavior _illegal_, you need to show why it
> is illegal.

Maybe it -isn't- illegal. In any case, it's immoral.

> -- 
> Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org>  | And do not say, I will study when I
> Temp.  http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/  | have leisure; for perhaps you will
> down:  http://www.loyalty.org/   (CAF)  | not have leisure.  -- Pirke Avot 2:5

 = Jon "Caspian" Blank,  right-brained computer programmer at large =
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