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Re: A possible GFDL compromise

On Sun, Sep 07, 2003 at 04:37:38AM +0100, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 06, 2003 at 05:13:06PM -0600, Joel Baker wrote:
> > 
> > In light of the DMCA, I'd say it's exactly as pervasive, for a significant
> > portion of our users. Once it goes in, it never comes out (legally,
> > anyway).
> I don't accept arguments of the form:
> "It doesn't impose significant extra penalties for users in country X,
> therefore it is DFSG-free"

Er. Neither do I. But, given the statements below, we may appear to be
in agreement on the actual point (as far as I see it).

> And I can't see that the DMCA can meaningfully be used for anything else.

It can't, really, TTBOMK. My point was that someone saying "it prevents
the use of DRM systems" could be read two ways, due to it's imprecision.
One of them is "it explicitly forbids the use of DRM systems under any
circumstances", the other is "it prohibits using DRM systems to restrict
the right of the recipient to further copy the document". The DMCA
currently makes the question of whether 'right' or 'ability' is the more
appropriate word, since not giving the ability probably fails to give the
right (modulo more legal headaches than I want, at least).

The former would be a problem, I agree; given general statements, I'm
willing to believe that the *goal* of that part of the GFDL is actually the
latter, and simply requires rewording to accurately reflect that, until
something shows otherwise. (This is not to say the GFDL doesn't have other
issues, of course.)

> > However, I think it would be best to wait until the currently-hypothetical
> > language is actually available for review. It may well prohibit DRM systems
> > only insofar as they restrict the legal right to redistribute copies (that
> > is, DRM circumvention plus the DMCA situations).
> Ick, what a hairball that would be. It would make much more sense to
> use something like this:
>  Each time you redistribute the work (or any derivative work), the
>  recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor
>  to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and
>  conditions.  You may not impose any further restrictions on the
>  recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.
> Which I just lifted from the GPL. Or, hey, license your document under
> the GPL; it has the advantage of being free.

Preaching to the choir, here, except that most of my Free works are under
the BSD or Clarified Artistic licenses, which makes the whole discussion
fairly moot in regards to things I could change. :)

The only question I would have is whether a contract which gives you the
right to make copies can override the DMCA anti-circumvention clauses
(assuming that you are given a copy of a DRM-protected work, and must
circumvent those protections to be able to excercise your right to copy
it). One could try to wriggle through the loophole that *you* didn't impose
any further restrictions; only the DMCA's prohibition against circumventing
controls that were in the file you distributed.

Certainly it wouldn't take *much* of a wording change to close that, though
I'd rather leave it to the FSF's paid counsel to try, frankly.
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>                                        ,''`.
Debian GNU NetBSD/i386 porter                                        : :' :
                                                                     `. `'

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