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Re: Barriers to an ASP loophole closure (was Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes - constructive suggestion!)

On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 06:41:40PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 10, 2003 at 02:27:44PM -0500, Jeremy Hankins wrote:
> > Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:
> > > Basically, as far as I can see, the dissident test is exactly equivalent
> > > to saying "we don't want to close this ASP loophole thing".
> > I don't think this is true, if you accept the substitution of users
> > for copy holders.

> Well, "dissidents" supposedly want to be able to keep their changes
> private to a small group from among all the people who have any knowledge
> of their software. "ASP" folks want to keep their software private to
> themselves.

> One possiblity would be to change the distribute-to-author requirement
> to be something like "If the author is aware of your modifications, and
> requests them, you are required to provide them at cost", and require the
> author to somehow positively demonstrate his awareness. If you're only
> using the software locally, or amongst a few friends, the author can't
> demonstrate any such awareness; if you provide a subscription service
> to the public, one of your subscribers can mail the author and tell him
> about it though.

I find this an acceptable compromise.  The GPL already implements
something very close to this:  if you give someone a copy, they're able
to pass it on to a third party who in some cases then has grounds for
demanding source from the author.  Extending that to letting a PCH demand
access to changes if someone tells him about them doesn't seem too much
of a stretch.

One area of concern would be how this interacts with "NDAs" (or whatever
the equivalent is in dissident undergrounds ;).  There are cases today
where GPL code can remain private due to the mutual interests of the
parties involved.  Should torturing information out of a cell member (in
the extreme case) be sufficient to give the author legal standing to
demand access to changes?

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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