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

Re: PHPNuke license

Scripsit Steve Langasek <vorlon@netexpress.net>

> Does anyone here hold the position that requiring the copyright notice on
> the front page would not be DFSG-free, if that's a valid interpretation
> of the GPL?

I have a hard time deciding what to think here. On one hand, it is
not, in the present case, an orneous requirement. On the other, I fear
a slippery slope leading to output restrictions and all sorts of bad

Perhaps a reasonable place to draw the line would be to say that we
don't find it DFSG-unfree in itself to require a copyright notice (or
other stuff as detailed in GPL 2(c) on the front page, if the software
appears *to the remote end user* as a coherent entity that he is
having a stateful interaction with. This would be independent of how
that appearance is technically achieved. However, for some technical
architectures, the means by which the copyright notice is required in
the license may still be unfree in themselves - for example, if they
are phrased as an output or use restriction.

> Does anyone believe the GPL unambiguously *dis*allows that
> interpretation?

I don't.

> Does anyone believe that this interpretation is sufficiently wrong-headed
> that it should not be considered valid, in spite of statements from the
> copyright holder or a court ruling?

For debian-legal's purposes, I suppose that the constructive position
would be to *assume* that the upstream author is right when he claims
that the GPL includes restrictions that we usually don't see the GPL
as including. If the restrictions claimed by the upstream author are
unacceptable, we should treat the software as DSFG-nonfree even though
the restrictions may not actually be there, seen from an objective
legal viewpoint.

Things only begin to get muddy in the hypothetical case that the
project has been forked or inherited by a new upstream author, and the
new upstream author interprets the GPL to grant rights that the old
one explicitly denied. *Then* we'll nedd to figure out which of the
authors we believe.

Henning Makholm                                      "Punctuation, is? fun!"

Reply to: