[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: PHPNuke license



On Fri, Feb 28, 2003 at 10:12:41AM -0600, John Goerzen wrote:
> Hello,
> 
> This is in /usr/share/doc/phpnuke/copyright:
> 
> Note from upstream author:
> 
>  ##############################################################################
>  #                        I M P O R T A N T    N O T E                        #
>  ##############################################################################
>  # IMPORTANT: I saw many sites that removes the copyright line in the footer  #
>  # of each page. YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO REMOVE NOR CHANGE/EDIT THAT NOTE. If I #
>  # still see this problem happening I'll need to take extreme measures that   #
>  # can include: to change the PHP-Nuke license, to encrypt some parts of the  #
>  # code, stop distributing it for free and in an extreme case stop developing #
>  # it. The decision is in your hands.                                         #
>  # If you do not agreed with this simple rule, delete all PHP-Nuke files      #
>  # right now and move away from it. Thanks.                                   #
>  ##############################################################################
> 
> I think this is not good for the same reason as the BSD advertising clause.

Well, it's *worse* than the BSD advertising clause, and since the DFSG
implicitly permits the BSD advertising clause, this analogy isn't
persuasive.

What this restriction is much *more* like is the Zope web bug ("all
pages rendered with Zope have to have our little image on it"), against
which Bruce Perens successfully campaigned some years ago.

> The notice is:
> 
> "Web site engine's code is Copryight (C) 2002 by PHP-Nuke.  All Rights
> Reserved.  PHP-Nuke is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL license."
> 
> This would seem to also prohibit modifications and derived works, since a
> proper copyright notice would reflect the status of the modifier.  

That is problematic.  Also, if we want to pick nits, they are not citing
the GNU GPL very accurately.  There should be no slash and they should
probably mention which version of the GNU GPL they mean; practically
everyone uses version 2.

But the license is non-DSFG-free mostly because it makes a restriction
on what types of functional changes can be made (the decision to spew a
copyright notice through a socket is functional in a way that a comment
or blurb in a piece of documentation is not), violating DFSG 3.

We do implicitly accept one narrowly-drawn exception to DFSG 3, and that
is the GNU GPL's 2c).  However, PHPNuke's restriction is not the GNU
GPL's 2c, and I think have every right to object to a proliferation of
unremovable spew in what should be Free software, and web content whose
copyright in and of itself belongs to other people.

I'll note that the GNU GPL's 2c), for instance, does not mandate that
the announcement of the copyright notice and warranty disclaimer be
placed into files output or processed by the software, which is what
PHPNuke is doing.

Moreover, the copyright holders of PHPNuke are compelling us as
licensees to impose a "futher restriction" on the exercise by users of
this Debian package of their rights under the GNU GPL.  This is not
permitted by GPL clause 6, and therefore the Debian Project "may not
distribute the Program at all." (GPL clause 7)

The PHPNuke license is not DFSG-free, and a release-critical bug should
be filed against it.  The software should be dropped from Debian main if
the copyright holder(s) is/are unwilling to relicense it.  Plain old GNU
GPL v2 would be fine, with no further restrictions, if the current
copyright holder(s) is/are amenable to that.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |      To stay young requires unceasing
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      cultivation of the ability to
branden@debian.org                 |      unlearn old falsehoods.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |      -- Robert Heinlein

Attachment: pgphO049P6trb.pgp
Description: PGP signature


Reply to: