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Re: FilterProxy and DFSG

On Mon, Mar 12, 2001 at 07:46:13PM -0600, Bob McElrath wrote:
> Anthony Towns [aj@azure.humbug.org.au] wrote:
> > On Mon, Mar 12, 2001 at 06:49:59PM -0600, Bob McElrath wrote:
> > > Richard Braakman [dark@xs4all.nl] wrote:
> > > > On Mon, Mar 12, 2001 at 05:37:40PM -0600, Bob McElrath wrote:
> > > > GPL section 6, when talking about distributing the program, says
> > > > "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients'
> > > > exercise of the rights granted herein."
> > > I'll go ahead and argue that unrestraind usage is not a "right granted"
> > > within the GPL.
> > AIUI (and IANAL) it doesn't have to be: copyright only restricts people
> > making copies of a program, not using it.
> AIUI?  I'm not familiar with that one.  (as I understand it?)


> And you've hit the nail on the head...I'm trying to separate the usage
> license (LICENSE) from the copying license (COPYING = GPL), which one
> ought to be able to do.  Am I the first to try this?

Except that you don't need a license to be able to use something, you
just can. It's like being invited into someone's house, and getting
given a form that says you can breathe the air, as long as you only do
it through your nose. All very well, but you can just not sign it and
keep on breathing through your mouth.

You can combine them, so that you're only allowed to enter in the first
place if you promise not to breathe through your mouth, but that's then
part of what you have to do to be allowed to enter.

ie, you can't have a separate entry (distribution) and breathing (use)
license: everyone already has the right to breathe (use), if you want to
limit that, you have to give them something specifically in return for it,
which means you need to combine the two agreements into a single contract
(i let you enter, but you have to breathe like this; i let you copy,
but you have to use in this manner).

> Well, my license is essentially that (or intended to be at any rate).  A
> contract.  Granted, it's an icky click-wrap license

You'd need to talk to a real lawyer to get the specifics, but I think the
rough rule of thumb is that each contract has to specifically provide
some benefits to each party to be valid. A contract that allows you to
use the software you've already got a copy of doesn't provide any benefit
since, unlike copyright, there's no reason why you couldn't have used
it in the first place.

> > > > The next statement, "Any work derived from FilterProxy must include
> > > > this License in addition to the GPL", would also be a "further
> > > > restriction" under section 6.  
> > > Again, if usage is not a right "granted herein", then requiring the
> > > secondary license is not a restriction on those rights.  
> > That's a restriction on the right to distribute and modify it, not usage
> > though, fwiw.
> See my last post.  Is the license part of the software, and therefore,
> covered by its copright?

The GPL has its own copyright: the Free Software Foundation wrote it,
not you, and its not licensed under itself.

> > Usually usage restrictions are taken as making a program non-free;
> > so FilterProxy's license fails DFSG 6: it discriminates against people
> > trying to transparently remove swear words from web pages, eg.
> Yes, it does.  ;)  I'm not arguing that FilterProxy shouldn't be in
> non-free, I'm just trying to make sure I've got all my t's crossed and
> my i's dotted WRT my license.
> If debian-legal doesn't want to entertain my exploration of the GPL, let
> me know... ;)  But I thought it would be an appropriate forum.

Well, fwiw, I'm not sure there's too much point putting it under the
GPL and then adding extra restrictions to make it non-free. You lose
the ability to use other GPLed code in that program, and you can't use
that program's code in other GPLed programs (since you'd have to add
restrictions to other people's programs, and so forth). This immediately
makes almost all of the GPL redundant, since most of it's about using
code from different programs to make different programs. It seems also
fairly misleading "Oh, it's under the GPL! Don't worry! Oh, except for
this extra thing... Oh... Damn."

Saying something simpler, like just:

	You may freely use, distribute, duplicate and modify this program
	under the proviso that the end user of pages filtered with the
	program are aware of what's being filtered, and have given the
	user of the program their explicit consent.


a la the BSD license (except with restrictions that make it non-free
and not GPL compatible) would seem a lot more sensible...


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

``_Any_ increase in interface difficulty, in exchange for a benefit you
  do not understand, cannot perceive, or don't care about, is too much.''
                      -- John S. Novak, III (The Humblest Man on the Net)

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