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Proposed: Debian's Five Freedoms for Free Works

[Originally this was going to be a reply to the Lego Mindstorms SDK
question, but it turned into an essay.  Oh well.  :) ]

As Richard M. Stallman of the Free Software Foundation has been saying
for twenty years or more, the "Free" in "Free Software" refers to
freedom, not price.  A great deal of Free Software is available to the
general public free of charge, but that is not the essential
characteristic of Free Software.  The Free Software Foundation
promulgates, and the Debian Project generally accepts, four essential
freedoms as defining "Free Software".

The following is an enumeration of freedoms intended to apply to
non-public-domain works in general.

1) The freedom to use the Work for any purpose.
2) The freedom adapt the Work to one's needs.  Access to the form of the
   work which is preferred for making modifications (for software, the
   "source code"), if applicable, is a precondition for this.
3) The freedom to redistribute copies of the Work.
4) The freedom to change the Work for any purpose[1], to distribute
   one's changes, and to distribute the Work in modified form.  Access
   to the form of the work which is preferred for making modifications,
   if applicable, is a precondition for this.

(You can read more about the Free Software Foundation's definition of
Free Software at: <URL:http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html>.

You will note that my wording differs slightly from the Free Software
Foundation's.  This is deliberate.)

I personally have advocated a fifth freedom:

5) The freedom to retain privacy in one's person, effects, and data,
   including, but not limited to, all Works in one's possession and one's
   own changes to Works written by others.

I need to work on the wording of this fifth freedom a bit to make it
clear that it is fair for a person to whom Free Software is distributed to
demand access to the source code, including the source code to any
changes or improvements made by the person from whom one is receiving
the software.  The point is that my usage of your Free Software does not
entitle you to access to or any rights in my improvements to your
software unless I distribute the Software back to you specifically.

Other consequences of my proposed fifth freedom are that a Free Software
licensor has no right to insist that a person to whom software is
distributed disclose any more information about him- or herself than is
strictly necessary for processing of the transaction.  For example, a
Free Software licensor cannot insists that a distributee disclose his
credit rating (or compel a grant of permission to find out, by running a
credit check), that a work of Free Software retain code that scans the
contents of one's hard drive and reports on its findings to the author
of the software, to a third party, or even to the user him- or herself,
or that a Free book must retain a foreword which calls for the
extermination of Lendu people.


[1] Except the eradication of legal notices necessary to communicate and
    preserve the legal status of the software.  This means applicable
    copyright notices, license terms, references to license terms,
    warranty disclaimers, and so forth.  Freedom four *does* include the
    freedom to remove or change such material where it is incorrect or
    inapplicable, and add correct and applicable material of this nature.

G. Branden Robinson                |    It is the responsibility of
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    intellectuals to tell the truth and
branden@debian.org                 |    expose lies.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Noam Chomsky

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