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Re: Bug#156287: Advice on Drip (ITP #156287)

bts@alum.mit.edu (Brian T. Sniffen) writes:

> The speech-nature of computer programs may be protected; the
> functional nature of computer programs is likely to not be.  The
> courts appear to be favoring, at best, a portmanteau approach to the
> question "Is Code Speech?"

Actually, the courts have basically adopted the "Code is Speech" rule,
and that means that restrictions must be justified as restrictions on
speech.  Such things are sometimes restrictable, indeed, but not much.

> I think that neither you nor I are lawyers, and Debian should keep
> its nose painfully clean until it has reliable legal advice on this
> subject.  And probably let somebody else be the test case.

This is a very different meta-question.  Sometimes it's the right
thing, but it's not really an answer to the actual debate to say
"nobody really knows, punt to a lawyer for an answer".  That's either
just advice about what Debian should do (and as such, the person who
introduces it should start taking the necessary steps, as Sam Hartman
and others did in the encryption case), or else it's an unfair attempt
to use FUD.


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