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Re: New EULA of UnrealIRCd

On Mon, Oct 28, 2002 at 03:31:38PM -0500, Sam Hartman wrote:
> It's unclear from the text you quoted whether they are reserving the
> change the license on future downloads, which IMHO is fine for Debian
> or reserving the right to change the license of existing downloads
> which has the problems you point out.

Requiring a click-through license acceptance ceremony is, in and of
itself, incompatible with the GNU GPL.  This is because it makes
requirements of the user that the GNU GPL itself does not.

  6.  Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
  Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original
  licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and
  conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients'
  exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing
  compliance by third parties to this License.

There are thus two problems with this click-through ceremony:

1) If UnrealIRCd contains any code under the GNU GPL that is not
copyrighted by the copyright holders of UnrealIRCd, and the copyright
holders of UnrealIRCd have not obtained permission from the copyright
holders of this third-party to distrbute their under this license,
UnrealIRCd is probably in infrignment of the copyright on that
third-party code.  Debian cannot distribute such a work at all.  Note
that this is a possible risk even if UnrealIRCd merely dynamically links
against a library licensed under the GNU GPL.

2) Even if 1) isn't a concern, a program that claims to be under the GNU
GPL plus an additional restriction is generally inconsistently licensed
and the license doesn't properly transfer from a legal perspective.
It's usually best for copyright holders to use a license other than the
GNU GPL if the GPL's terms are unacceptable to them, because of section
6 of the GNU GPL which I quoted above.

For a further discussion of click-through license acceptance ceremonies,


G. Branden Robinson                |    I'm sorry if the following sounds
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    combative and excessively personal,
branden@debian.org                 |    but that's my general style.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Ian Jackson

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