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Re: Mass bug filing: Cryptographic protection against modification

On Thu, May 06, 2004 at 04:14:31AM -0400, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> I don't think it's so much that unmodifiable license texts are considered
> free, but that they're a necessary bit of non-freeness.
> As I've suggested, I don't think that this is necessarily completely true,
> considering the concepts of "license terms" and "license texts" separately.
> We must allow the implicit restriction "you must not misrepresent the terms
> under which this work is licensed", which means that you can't take the GPL,
> modify it, and then claim that the Linux kernel is under your modified GPL.
> The license of the license is irrelevant--if the GPL was freely
> modifiable, you would still have to distribute the unmodified text,
> in order to accurately represent the licensing terms of the
> software.

Funny that, the standards communities make the exact same argument
about why you can't take a standards text, modify it, and then publish
it.  Even if you change the name, it causes major interoperability
problems --- what if there were ten different versions of the http
protocol out there, all with different standards documents "blessing"
them as legitimate?

Hence, standards bodies that state that out of policy reasons, if
someone wants to make a non-interoperable version of a protocol, they
should start from scratch and not be able to leverage the existing
work of the protocol specifications, are in many ways making the exact
same argument about why it is "necessary" to prevent someone from
using the GPL using it as a base, possibly stemming confusion in the

(Your arguement that if someone could modify the a copy of the GPL and
hence modify the terms under which the kernel is distributed is
laughable, by the way; just as a contract doesn't change if someone
attempts to modify a paper copy of the contract, changing a copy of
the GPL would not change the terms under which existing code is
licensed.  The only argument for why it is "necesssary" that license
texts should be unmodifiable is to avoid confusion --- which is
EXACTLY why some standards bodies don't want randoms dicking about
with the definition of the http protocol, for example.)

So tell me again why the GPL text should be privileged?

							- Ted

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