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

On Mon, 2003-03-10 at 15:44, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> 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.


> 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
> continents.  

Free Software talks both of posessors and of users.

> > 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. 

But the Fred situation is about some hypothetical license which *isn't
the AGPL* which wouldn't pass the Desert Island or Dissident tests
anyway.  If Fred used some AGPL'd code, there would be a different set
of issues.  Consider the following:

Joe rebuilds the software to offer customers contracts over the web. 
Now, one of his customers says, "that's really cool, I want to be able
to do the same for my customers."  Ought that customer to be able to get
the source code?  You say no, I say yes.  We're at impasse

> 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.

I don't know what "tout court" means.  But I think that if giving legal
advice some day comes down to giving out software programs, then we
ought to have the same freedoms wrt legal advice that we have with other

-Dave Turner                     Stalk Me: 617 441 0668

"On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters 
of principle, stand like a rock." -Thomas Jefferson

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