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

Re: OSD && DFSG convergence

On Mon, Mar 03, 2003 at 07:28:03PM -0500, David Turner wrote:
> > I agree that that's a reasonable and canonical interpretation of '4'.
> > My concern is with alternative interpretations of it, given that some
> > people here are advocating quite liberal stretching of the term
> > "interactive" to accomodate PHPNuke.
> I don't think this is a stretch.

Well, here's your problem.

Your stretch relies upon a single act being both an act of distributing the
*modified* program and of invoking it interactively.

Here's why that must be the case:

 * (2)(c) applies only when you're distributing a modified copy of
   the program

 * (2)(c) applies only when both the original program was interactive
   and the modified program is interactive

Here's why your comparison fails:

 * The "modified program" distribution could be modified without ever
   having any human interaction!  Can you imagine the dastardly
   possibilities if you count as modification and distribution under
   (2) acts that nobody even intended to perform or did perform?
   I repeat: this "modified" program need NOT be modified by any
   human.  I maintain that this is not really a modification at all.

 * Even if it is modification, the license states "YOU may" (emphasis mine).
   It does not give a computer process the rights to modify the program.
   Are you asserting the absurd condition that a PHPNuke process is
   violating its own license by modifying and distributing itself
   without the user's knowledge?

   Note: I know of no legal jurisdictions that assign legal rights
   to executing computer processes.

 * I maintain that in the general scheme of things (which is the sense
   in which the GPL was written and must be considered),
   "viewing a user interface" cannot possibly constitute
   "distributing a modified copy of the software".  The HTML code,
   inclusive of embedded ECMAScript, is nothing but user interface
   controls.  Why are you not asserting that the X protocol stream
   is copyrightable but an HTTP stream is?

   What about situations where the HTTP stream is compressed with gzip
   for transport?  Transmitted with chunked encoding?  It may end up
   bearing less of a resemblence to the original source code than an X
   protocol stream to a low-level X11 app.  Why is this different?

 * Even if you do consider this to be distributing a modified copy of the
   source code, I advance that the act of "downloading a modified copy of
   the source code" is fundamentally different from
   starting and running for "interactive use in the most ordinary way" and
   thus is not subject to (2)(c).

These points, and the ones in
are ones that I have yet to hear any response to from you or others
advocating your position.

-- John

Reply to: