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Re: LPPL and non-discrimination

The proposed new LPPL discriminates between person(s) who
are the Current Maintainer, and those who are not.

I have suggested that this is against Debian guideline 5 -

Two contributions have said, for various reasons, that the
guideline does not apply in this situation.

Suppose the proposed LPPL discrimination is allowed.  How
then can discrimination such as:

  If the licensee is ABC Software Inc then the licensee
  may freely incorporate this work into its proprietary

be resisted?

I'd be interested to hear of any precedents regarding Debian
accepting or rejection discriminatory licenses.

The rest of the message is a response to the second argument
that the guideline does not apply.

Jonathan Fine


Anthony DeRobertis wrote:

> > Now to the problem.  Debian guideline 5 states "The
> > license must not discriminate against any person or
> > group of persons."
> That guideline is intended to disallow things like "If you're French,
> you may not use this package." The license must be free for everyone,
> not just some people.
> A reading of the DFSG that disallows granting a person more freedoms
> than other persons must be wrong because under copyright law, there is
> always someone like that: The copyright holder.

First, the intention of the guideline.

A google search for Debian Guidelines non-discrimination
produced only a few hits.

One was an interesting article by a lawyer in California.


I looked up the Open Source Definition

The rationale annotation to guideline 5 states

    In order to get the maximum benefit from the process,
    the maximum diversity of persons and groups should be
    equally eligible to contribute to open source.

The LPPL does not make all users equally eligible, contrary
to the intention of this guideline in the Open Source

Second, the copyright holder.  The DFSG apply to the license,
and to software released under that license.  They do not
apply to the ownership of copyright (or patents for that

That the copyright holder has under law rights that the
licensee does not does not mean that the license is
discriminatory, or that non-discriminatory licenses
are impossible.

Again relating to guideline 5, the Open Source Definition
adds a rationale annotation

    Some countries, including the United States, have export
    restrictions for certain types of software.  An
    OSD-conformant license may warn licensees of applicable
    restrictions and remind them that they are obliged to obey
    the law; however it may not incorporate such restrictions

The situation regarding the copyright holder is similar.
The license may remind the licensee of the additional
privileges the copyright holder might have.  But it may not
incorporate such privileges into the license itself.

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