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Re: Bug#164874: mobilemesh: recommends non-free package

Mark Purcell <msp@debian.org> wrote:
> On my fifth reading of the licence I don't think the "copyright assignment"
> is actually an issue, but I did initially:
>    3.The Mobile Mesh software is covered by the GNU General Public
> License (Version 2). If you transmit source code improvements or
> modifications to MITRE, you agree to assign to MITRE copyright to such
> improvements or modifications, which MITRE will then make available
> from MITRE's web site.
> The licence doesn't say that source code improvements must have their
> copyright assigned, it just states that if you transmit source code 
> improvements to the upstream organisation 'MITRE' then you agree
> to copyright assignment. My reading is that you are under no
> obligation to transmit sourc code improvements to the upstream organisation
> 'MITRE' unless you want to.

There is a question of what "transmit" means.  If I post to the
relevant mailing list that a new version is available at
http://foo.org, and I know that MITRE monitors that mailing list, is
it "transmit"ing when they go to that web site and download the new

What if I post the new version to the mailing list directly?  I would
certainly know that it will be transmitted to the MITRE people.  That
would certainly be an additional restriction in how I can redistribute
the software.

MITRE can make it a policy of their own to always get copyright
assignment before incorporating it into the "official" version.
However, they are trying to get special status among contributors, and
the GPL doesn't allow that.

So this license is really inconsistent, and perhaps shouldn't be
distributed by Debian at all.

Walter Landry

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