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



On Wed, Oct 16, 2002 at 07:46:45AM +1000, Mark Purcell 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.

It's still an extra restriction above and beyond what the GNU GPL
allows.

Under the plain GNU GPL, transmitting "source code improvements or
modifications" in GNU Emacs to the Free Software Foundation wouldn't in
and of itself assign the copyright in those improvements (if any) to the
Free Software Foundation.

There is also the issue that's impossible to comply with this license as
written if you transmit "source code improvements" to MITRE in which
*you* don't hold the copyright.  I cannot assign a copyright which
doesn't belong to me.

It sounds like some amateur who doesn't understand copyright law wrote
this license, or MITRE should get their money back from whatever lawyer
wrote this.

The package is not coherently licensed and should not be distributed by
Debian at all, even in non-free, until this problem is resolved.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    You should try building some of the
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    stuff in main that is
branden@debian.org                 |    modern...turning on -Wall is like
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    turning on the pain. -- James Troup

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