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Re: LPPL and non-discrimination



On Tue, May 06, 2003 at 06:38:14PM +0100, Jonathan Fine wrote:
> Suppose ABC Software takes a DFL and from it creates
> a new license (call it ABC-DFL) by adding the clause:
> >
> >  If the licensee is ABC Software Inc then the licensee
> >  may freely incorporate this work into its proprietary
> >  software.
> 
> My question is this:  Does this ABC-DFL license meet the
> Debian Free Software Guidelines?

I'll dodge the question a little and say that I don't think a work of
software licensed under such terms would be Free Software, and thus
would not be distributable as part of a Debian OS.

* If the work has been modified so trivially that no independent
  copyright can attach to the work, then, in the United States anyway,
  ABC Software Inc can do the above without needing to compel a license
  from the modifier.  In the U.S., copyright does not attach to trivial
  modifications.
* If the work has been substantially modified such that it is a
  "derivative work" under U.S. copyright law, then the above clause is
  effectively demanding consideration in exchange for rights granted
  under the license.  In the U.S., copyrights are negotiable assets, and
  are presumably of some value.  The clause might as well say:

  "Substantial modifications are permitted, and may be distributed, at
  which point the modifier must either pay to ABC Software Inc the sum
  of USD 1,000 for each occurrence of distribution by the modifier, or
  grant to ABC Software Inc a permanent, non-exclusive, paid-up,
  royalty-free, irrevocable license to incorporate the modified work or
  any portion thereof into its own proprietary software."

I feel sure that such a clause would immediately start alarm bells
ringing in almost any Debian developer's head; why they do not so when
other licenses confiscate things of value from modifers of "free"
software is a mystery to me.

I cannot express any informed opinions on this subject when it comes to
the copyright laws of countries other then the U.S.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |     Communism is just one step on the
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     long road from capitalism to
branden@debian.org                 |     capitalism.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Russian saying

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