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

Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes - constructive suggestion!

On Mon, Mar 10, 2003 at 12:52:48PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 09, 2003 at 08:19:33PM -0500, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > On Mon, 10 Mar 2003, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > > If you want the possible term defined more precisely, consider
> > > something more like:
> > > 	"If you have distributed a modified version of The Work, then
> > >	 if you receive a request by the Primary Copyright Holder
> > >	 (named above), you must provide a copy of your modifications
> > >	 as at the time you receive the request, at cost, to the
> > >	 Primary Copyright Holder."
> > Unfortunatly, this clause has the "distribution" versus "deployment"
> > problem, and thus fails to close the ASP loophole.

> Yes, you're right, that shouldn't've been there.

> This detailed wrangling is really missing the point that I'm interested
> in, though. Is there a _fundamental_ difficulty with such licenses?

> 	"If you have created a modified version of the Work, and receive
> 	 a request by the Primary Copyright Holder, you must provide
> 	 a copy of your modifications as at the date of the request in
> 	 source form, at cost, to the Primary Copyright Holder."

> Assume that's interpreted in the obvious manner -- I write a program,
> you use it extensively and generate some local modifications, I come
> along, give you $100 for the time and materials cost, you give me the
> changes you've made. Ignoring corner cases, and so forth.

> First, does that cause any problems for Debian? I think we already satisfy
> it quite readily.

> Does it make it anything you might want to do with free software
> technically any more difficult? I don't think so -- you have to be asked
> by the original author, and they have to cover your costs in fulfulling
> the request.

I believe that there IS a fundamental difficulty with such licenses.
Consider the case where a company's modifications encode certain business
logic details.  The information they want to keep secret isn't something
that can simply be moved out of the code; their secrets are woven into
the functionality of the code itself.  If the original author is a
competitor, or a competitor buys off the original author, any "you must
provide your changes when asked" condition makes it non-viable to use
this software for certain applications which are otherwise protected by
current free software licenses.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

Attachment: pgp9_VLbwsoYv.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: