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Re: Cypherpunks anti-License

Scripsit Anthony DeRobertis <asd@suespammers.org>

> > Licensing
> > The CPL is not a license, it does not require the user to do or not
> > do anything; the user does not agree to any terms, because there are
> > no terms, and the user does not need to do anything to indicate
> > acceptance or rejection of the CPL.

> OK.

But indicative of confused thinking. The legal core meaning of the
word "license" is that it gives permissions. It is the giving of
permissions that makes a thing a "license", whether or not there are
any strings attached. The author seems to think that it is attached
strings that are meant by the word "license", which is simply wrong.

> AFAICT, this is a promise from cypherspace.org not to litigate about
> this code. It is not a license term at all (as there are no license
> terms, see above).

> If Debian wishes to make this promise, then it is free to do so as
> well; I'm not sure if we do. However, if we don't, then just delete
> this paragraph.

We should not delete paragraphs from upstream license statements.
It might be necessary to state in the copyright file that Debian as a
project does not make the promise. But I think it is not necessary.

First, I cannot imagine any situation where Debian would even
*consider* suing anybody over anything they do to software that we
simply distribute. On the contrary, the whole point of the Social
Contract and the DFSG is to promise users that we try to make certain
that they *won't* get sued.

Second, "Debian" is not a legally competent entitiy; it can neither
make binding promises nor file lawsuits. (That's what we have SPI
for). The legally competent persons distributing the software are
the maintainer, the ftp-masters, and the mirror admins. They may want,
personally, to reserve the theoretical right to sue, but it beyond my
imagination why they would want to, or indeed which right they have in
the first place that could be reserved.

> > The CPL is completely liberal. Here are some examples of
> > implications of this which are not true for many licenses. The user
> > can redistribute the work or a derived or modified work
> >
> >     * under a different license of their choosing

> A derived work, yes; the work, not really. As in he could claim to,
> but he could not enforce it.

Probably the license author can conceive of a jurisdiction where a
distributor could claim a copyright-like interest in copies he
distributes, without any creative effort. 

Henning Makholm                            "What a hideous colour khaki is."

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