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Re: plagiarism of reiserfs by Debian

On Sun, Apr 20, 2003 at 01:24:09AM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> Op za 19-04-2003, om 22:51 schreef Lukas Geyer:
> > the issue seems to be the fix of #152547. If we are not allowed to
> > remove a screenful of advertising from the output of a program, then
> > this unduly restricts the freedom to distribute modified versions.

> Uhm.

> From the GPL, section 2:

>     c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively
>     when run, you must cause it, when started running for such
>     interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an
>     announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a
>     notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide
>     a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under
>     these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this
>     License.  (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but
>     does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on
>     the Program is not required to print an announcement.)

> Otherwise put: if the program shows the 'no warranty' clause from the
> GPL at startup, you may not remove it. Although a 'no warranty' message
> is certainly not the same as a list of sponsors, they both require some
> messages being printed for legalese reasons. I, personally, see nothing
> wrong with that; it certainly doesn't result in software being non-free.

The choice of the word "legalese" seems appropriate here; whereas the
GPL requirement is a concession to the legal reality that one must
actively disclaim warranty in some jurisdictions to avoid lawsuits from
users (who needn't agree to the GPL in full in order to use the
software), there is no such *legal* justification for a requirement that
credits be listed in the program's output.  Therefore, while most would
concede that authors shouldn't have to expose themselves to legal
liability in order to release free software, it's not so obvious that a
requirement to list credits in the output of a running program is
necessarily DFSG-free.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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