[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Squeak in Debian?

On Fri, Apr 30, 2004 at 05:56:15PM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Scripsit Jakob Bohm <jbj@image.dk>
> > The term "under your direct control" typically does not refer to
> > physical access or knowledge of the root password etc., it
> > usually refers to "under your [licensee as legal entity] direct
> > [legal] control", that is any computer that the licensee (which
> > may be a person, company, organisation etc.) has the *legal*
> > command over, typically by owning, renting, leasing, borrowing,
> > getting as sponsorship etc.
> That's even worse. It means that the license is trying to say that I'm
> not allowed to install the software on my neighbour's computer, which I
> have no legal control over, even if my neighbourt asks me to help him.

Beware that the following is a bit speculative, IANAL, TINLA,

No, that's not my understanding, my understanding is that if you
install it on your neighbour's computer, then it is your
neighbor that needs to follow the license, not you.  And if you
brought the copy to the party then you are actually doing two
steps: distribute to your neighbor, then install on behalf of
your neighbor, which is a very common situation typically
addressed by this very phrase.  The person bringing the CD to
the party is a distributor, the person who's PC it is put on is
a non-distributing end-user.  And if a third (helpful) person
does the work of putting the CD in the computer, that person
needs no license at all.

In commercial licenses, the half that applies to the guy
bringing the CD is called a "redistribution or OEM license", the
(shorter) half that applies to those that don't distribute (but
might modify or copy or...) is called an end user license or
EULA (an abbreviation often misunderstood on this list to mean
"restrictive EULA").  The helpful person who just puts the CD in
the drive only needs to sign the NDA (if any).

> > In contrast if the software is licensed to the DD as a person
> > and the computer was not donated to the DD as a person, then
> > this clause does not apply to anything the DD does on that
> > computer, even if the DD is standing in front of the computer
> > logged in as root and with full access to every part of the
> > opened up computer cabinet.
> I.e. it is non-free, because a free license should certainly allow one
> (DD or not) to install and use the software on computers he does not
> own. (The question of whether the computer's owner allows this or not
> is certainly not something the author of the software has any valid
> reason to be concerned about).

If the computer's owner allows you to do it for his benefit,
then the owner gets to obey the license and the person doing it
only needs to obey the owner.  If the computer's owner lets one
borrow the computer for ones own needs and one then installs for
ones own benefit then one is effectively borrowing the computer,
which is thus temporarily under ones control.  Which is why the
standard phrase says "control" not "own".

Or a situation seriously considered by drafters of such
licenses: Company A leases its computers from bank B and
outsources IT management to consultant company C.  With the
"direct control" phrase, the license is granted to A, not B (the
owner) or C (the helpful DD).  If C modifies the software and
then installs the modified version on computers belonging to
both A and another company A4, then C is distributing its
modifications to A and A4 and both get to receive source code
and other license benefits even after they fire C in favour of
competing consultants C4.  If it was paid software with
pay-per-company payment, then A and AA don't get to share a
single payment, as they might if C was allowed to pay once for
all its clients.

Here is a fictional free license along the same lines:

Gnomovision is (C) 2004 J. Random Hacker. All Rights Reserved.

EULA for Gnomovision:

If you don't copy or distribute Gnomovision except on computers
under your direct control, the following terms apply:

Do anything you want not excluded above, but don't sue J. Random
Hacker or Yoyodyne if anything goes wrong.

End of EULA for Gnomovision

Distribution license for Gnomovision:

You may do anything you want to this software, including but not
limited to copying, modifying, translating, distributing,
sublicensing etc. subject to the following conditions:

1. Any verbatim or modified copy of the work or a work derived
from the work that you distribute to a third party must be
licensed to said third party under the terms of both this
distribution license and the EULA cited above.

2. Do not sue J. Random Hacker or Yoyodyne if anything goes

3. You may add your own name to the list of people not to sue in
the EULA and/or clause 2 above, if you so wish.

4. This is a hypothetical license text for academic discussion
do not try to apply it to any real work or program.

This message is hastily written, please ignore any unpleasant wordings,
do not consider it a binding commitment, even if its phrasing may
indicate so. Its contents may be deliberately or accidentally untrue.
Trademarks and other things belong to their owners, if any.

Reply to: