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Fwd: FilterProxy and DFSG-compliancy?

I originally posted this on debian-devel. However, I should have chosen 
-legal, duh me.
Please see -devel for the discussion so far. Thanks.

----------  Forwarded Message  ----------
Subject: FilterProxy and DFSG-compliancy?
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 21:14:29 +0100
From: Kenneth Vestergaard Schmidt <charon@debian.org>
To: debian-devel@lists.debian.org


I just filed an ITP in response to an RFP for the package "FilterProxy".
However, I might have jumped ahead too quick, since the license might be too

It /does/ fall under the GPL, but with modifications. This imposes two
problems, one minor and a lesser one.

The first is, that one lines is added at the top of "COPYING". That one
line can just be added verbatim to "debian/copyright", and then provide the
usual reference to /usr/share/common-licenses.

However, what the line states is:
"Please see the file LICENSE for a modification to the license for

I have attached LICENSE to this post - hope nobody minds, it's only 3.6kb. I
really need some input on this - would it be against the DFSG? I wouldn't
think so, only the long description should contain the license, and
README.Debian should probably contain a notice. But should it go in non-free?
Or is it totally against the DFSG?

Anyway, any input is appreciated.

FilterProxy is copyright 2000 by 
Bob McElrath <mcelrath+filterproxy@draal.physics.wisc.edu>.


    This License covers usage of FilterProxy.  All issues related to
    copying, distribution, and modification of this software shall be
    covered by the GNU Public License (GPL), version 2.0.  If this
    License conflicts with the GPL in any way, this License takes
    precedence.  Any work derived from FilterProxy must include this
    License in addition to the GPL.  By using this software, you agree
    to the terms of this license, and the terms of the GPL.

    You may not use FilterProxy to modify the content downloaded by
    anyone without their express knowledge and consent.  Any content
    modified by FilterProxy shall be considered to be the sole legal
    responsibility of the individual or corporation who runs
    FilterProxy.  In no case shall any author of FilterProxy, or any
    author of a filtering component be held liable for copyright,
    patent, or other Intellectual Property law compliance of downloaded

    content     data contained in the response of an HTTP or other
                internet protocol request

Please read the file COPYING, which contians the GNU Public License.

The GNU Public License does not cover usage, or content/data generated
by a program covered by it.  From the GPL:  "Activities other than
copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License;
they are outside its scope."  

This software is in an unfortunate position in that it can be relatively
easily used to restrict freedom of information.  I think that freedom of
information is just as important as freedom to copy software.  Indeed, I
think they are the same thing.  The GPL is not intended to allow you to
misrepresent the works of others as your own by modifying software and
redistrbuting it: "You must cause the modified files to carry prominent
notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change."
Similarly, FilterProxy is not intended to allow you to modify content
and misrepresent it as the original.  Any user of FilterProxy must first
give consent for their content to be filtered, know that their content
is being filtered, and be able to determine exactly how it was or will
be filtered.

I am quite serious about this.  In case that wasn't clear, you may not
do the following things with FilterProxy:
    Remove naughty words
    Remove pornography
    Remove "harmful ideas" in any form
    Enforce access policies.
*UNLESS* you have the express knowledge and consent of the person whose
web content is being filtered.  Said person must know exactly what is
being filtered.  This is just so that unscrupulous individuals don't
install FilterProxy as a netnanny-type filtering system, and force their
views on others using it.

If for some perverse reason you are offended by naughty words, then you
are perfectly free to write and use a module that filters naughty words.
You may only use this module for yourself, and not for anyone else
without their knowledge and consent.

A note about filtered content:

It is clear to me that rewriting web pages for yourself should not pose
any kind of legal quandry.  That is, removing banner ads from HTML is
perfectly legal, just as scribbling in a book you have bought, or
ripping pages out of a book you have bought is legal.  

What is *not* legal is redistributing modified content.  In most cases,
HTML is copyrighted by the site you downloaded it from, and I doubt they
would be very happy if you started redistributing modified copies of
their site.

This goes with the license paragraphs above.  If everyone who receives
filtered content gives their consent for the filtering, knows that it is
being filtered, and how, then you should be perfectly within your

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