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Re: transformations of "source code"



On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 09:55:32PM -0500, David Turner wrote:
> On Sat, 2003-03-08 at 15:25, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > On Fri, Mar 07, 2003 at 04:59:50PM -0500, David Turner wrote:
> > > On Fri, 2003-03-07 at 13:11, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
> > > > Unfortunately, in the age of the DMCA that isn't quite enough.  Since
> > > > the GPL has few restrictions on functional modification, it's not much
> > > > of an issue there.  A document license has a broader problem: the
> > > > "first person to crack it open" would be violating the DMCA to do so.
> > > 
> > > Would this text fix the problem?
> > > 
> > > 6.6. Each time you distribute the Program (or any work based on the
> > > Program), you grant to the recipient and all third parties that
> >                                                              ^^^^
> > > receive copies indirectly through the recipient the authority to gain
> >   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > > access to the work by descrambling a scrambled work, decrypting an
> > > encrypted work, or otherwise avoiding, bypassing, removing,
> > > deactivating, or impairing a technological measure effectively
> > > controlling access to a work.
> > 
> > Strike the indicated text.  It shouldn't be possible to "steal" the
> > source code of Free Software.  
> 
> I don't understand this.

It's an unnecessary qualification.  Why do we need to say "all third
parties that receive copies indirectly through the recipient" instead of
"all third parties"?  Is there something special about third parties
that receive the work *directly* from the recipient?  Can't be, because
that case is already covered by "you grant to the recipient".

What is being gained through this language?

> > Access control is entirely the
> > responsibility of the distributor, and he fails to perform that function
> > diligently, he should not have standing under the terms of a Free
> > Software license to sue random third parties for having "gained
> > unathorized access" to the work.
> 
> Er, I think the idea is that if I give you a CSS'd DVD of my Free
> Software movie, and you give a copy to your friend, who then uses DeCSS
> on it, I've granted him or her permission to do that.

Yes, but you've also withheld that permission from everyone in the world
who *didn't* receive a copy of the Work, directly or indirectly, via the
recipient.

It shouldn't matter how one gets a hold of a Free work.

Moreover, this clause is at the same time potentially dangerously broad,
in that you're granting permission to people to gain access to "the
Work", not just the copy of it in their possession.

> > Any breach of a distributor's access control that is truly reprehensible
> > will surely be punishable under statutes unrelated to copyright.
> > 
> > I feel pretty strongly about this, by the way.  :)
> 
> Huh?  Now I'm more confused than ever.

Since there is qualification to "all third parties", it must be
restricting this mandatory grant of permission to access the Work from
*someone* -- else there's no point in having the qualification.

So that no one thinks they're being authorized to break into someone's
computer to "gain access" to "the Work", I'd suggest this instead:

6.6. Each time you distribute the Program (or any work based on the
Program), you grant to the recipient and all third parties the authority
to gain access to copies of the work in their possession by descrambling
a scrambled work, decrypting an or otherwise avoiding, bypassing,
removing, deactivating, or impairing a technological measure effectively
controlling access to the copy of the work in their possession.

Thus, under 6.6 you have permission to DeCSS a DVD I give you under this
license -- in fact, anyone in the world who ends up with a copy of that
DVD has that permission -- but no one is granted permission to crack my
box to look at the original .VOB file, for instance.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |       Convictions are more dangerous
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       enemies of truth than lies.
branden@debian.org                 |       -- Friedrich Nietzsche
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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