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Re: OpenDivX license

On Thu, Jan 25, 2001 at 03:40:39PM -0600, Sam TH wrote:
> I think we should introduce the concept of precedent into our
> deliberations here on debian-legal.  That is, when a clause of the
> DFSG has been consistenly interpreted to mean that some aspect of a
> license is or is not free, then that should be taken to be a real
> factor in our deliberations.  

I'd rather not formally state it. While it is true that words only mean
what they are taken to mean, and precedence has a very real effect on
decisions, decisions should based primarily on the DFSG. The whole
point of the DFSG was so Debian could have an objective document they 
could point to to justify and explain their actions. Precedence starts
to undermine that. At worst, precedence goes beyond interpreting what
it says, to making new rules, which should be done loudly on debian-devel
and debian-private, not quietly on debian-legal.
> Debian-legal has repeatedly held that requiring or prohibiting
> particular behavior as a condition of distributiing modified versions
> is in violation of the Fields of Endeavor clause of the DFSG.  
> Thus, the OpenDivx license is in violation of the DFSG.

I would say it's in violation of the Derived Works clause. Clause 3 says
"The license must allow modifications . . .", not "The license must allow
some modifications . . ." or "The license must allow us to change it to
work with the system without changing its basic purpose . . .". The few
restrictions you can put on modified works ("allow them to be distributed
under the same terms as the license" implies being able to restrict people
from distributing them under different terms; the patch clause (#4)) are
specified in the DFSG.

David Starner - dstarner98@aasaa.ofe.org
Recovering from a hard drive "crash" - website down

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