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Re: OpenDivX license

On Tue, 23 Jan 2001, Brian Ristuccia wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 23, 2001 at 01:31:12PM -0800, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> > On Tue, 23 Jan 2001, Brian Ristuccia wrote:
> > > It's not an open source license. Term #6 places limitations on distributing
> > > modified copies. 
> > 
> > la CSS, then it would not be OSD-conformant.  But if, reductio ad
> > absurdum, the standard said simply, "the software must communicate on port
> > 80", that wouldn't violate the DFSG.
> > 
> It certainly would. 
> Not only does term #6 prohibit me from distributing copies modified in this
> way, it actually goes as far as trying to prevent me from making such
> changes in the first place. 

Look, I didn't say it was a good thing.  I simply said it doesn't violate
the DFSG, as best I can tell - and I mostly bring this up to ask whether
or not this is a hole in the DFSG and/or OSD that can be plugged, and
secondarily whether people think that tying standards conformance to
distribution rights is a good thing or not.

> If the program in your reductio ad absurdum
> argument were Apache, and the copyright holder would accuse me of breech of
> contract for modifying the software to listen on a different port and accuse
> me of copyright infringement if I distributed that modified version, we'd
> all agree that minimum, such a term like #6 in the so-called OpenDivX
> license violates DFSG #3.

"Must allow" doesn't mean "Must allow unconditionally".  The OpenDiVX
license allows modifications and derived works, it's just that those
modifications must adhere to a specific set of standards.

DFSG #4 gets closer: it says that the license has to allow someone to be
able to distribute a patch that, say in the above example, replaces the
hard-coded port 80 with another port, "with the source code" - I don't
know if that means mere aggregation on a CDROM and/or in a similar
directory on a web site, or if it can be a part of the .tgz, etc.

I don't like this any more than you do.  It's ugly.  But to fix it you
have to make a blanket statement about what the license can say about what
the code implements - and I'd really be interested in a way to do that
that doesn't similarly affect the GPL, at least as interpreted by Stallman
when he came after L. Peter Deutsch regarding linking to readline's API 
from Ghostscript.


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