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Re: Should the ASP loophole be fixed? (Re: The Affero license)

David Turner <novalis@novalis.org> writes:

> On Sun, 2003-03-09 at 14:49, Henning Makholm wrote:
> > Scripsit Mark Rafn <dagon@dagon.net>
> > 
> > > 1) can software that forces a recipient to distribute it to non-recipient 
> > > users still be considered free?
> > 
> > > My answers are "no" and "no".
> > 
> > True. Ever since I started reading debian-legal, one of the tests
> > applied when we consider the freedom of a license has been, "can it be
> > used in a business?" 
> That depends on the type of business, doesn't it?  GPL'd software can't
> be made into proprietary software, and I see this issue as little
> different.

The word "proprietary" is a red-herring.  We thought we all knew what
it meant, but maybe we will disagree about it just as we will disagree
about what counts as free.

If "proprietary" means "you can make money from it", then GPL'd
software is manifestly proprietary, because all kinds of people make
all kinds of money from it.  Even from the act of selling copies and
doing nothing else.

So it means something like "you can't restrict the freedoms of others
with the license", and the question is Whom?  And the answer that free
software has always spoken of the freedom of the possessor of the
copy.  Not the freedom of other people, unconnected, on other

> The question is, then, whether (2)(d) is a hoop.  I think it, or some
> variant of it, is such a minimal hoop that it doesn't fail DFSG 3.

You're counting the cost of publication; not the fact that it outright
prohibits Fred the Lawyer from using and modifying the software.  A
good test is: is there a whole useful category of software (defined
functionally) that is ruled out tout court by the licensing
restriction?  And the answer is, yes: software which implements
particular legal advice.

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