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Re: Bug#251983: libcwd: QPL license is non-free; package should not be in main

debian-legal, I am CC'ing y'all for hope of valuable input. Please
refer to http://bugs.debian.org/251983 for a history of this

It's about the QPL, specifically term 6c. and the choice of legal
venue, which Nathanael claims to be in contradiction with the DFSG,
but which has never really been settled. The bugreport contains
links to previous discussion.

also sprach Carlo Wood <carlo@alinoe.com> [2004.06.01.1951 +0200]:
> The choice of law is my choice and not of the person who doesn't
> follow the rules of the license.  I am convinced that the choice
> of law has no influence on the *intend* of the license and as such
> cannot cause a license to fail the DFSG - which only describes
> what the intend of a license is (it is written in a general way).

i am also not clear on that. I don't think the DFSG denies a choice
of legal venue.

nevertheless, is it needed? imagine John Doe copies your software,
modifies it, and screws the licence. you can do one of two things:
prosecute john in his country, or prosecute john in your country.
the former's a pain and not possible due to financial issues. the
latter is what you'll do.

now, whether the licence states that your hometown is the chosen
legal venue or not does not make a difference to john doe. if john's
country shields him or does not cooperate in handing him over to
face the charges, then there's nothing you can do. john already
violated your licence. he'll laugh at you if you insist on the legal
venue choice.

the only time when such a choice of legal venue is relevant is when
someone chooses to prosecute you. but he can't, because the licence
exempts you from any liability. thus, no matter where there's
a prosecution, it's invalid because of terms in the licence.

> Since http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php contains
> a rationale for each guideline, I prefer to use that document as
> a base of this discussion.

Yes, I think that is possible.

> I might not be a lawyer, but I don't need to be.  This has been
> investigated before already for us.  As you can read on
> http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ (left column) the QPL is an
> approved OSI license, which means it satisfies the definition
> given on http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php.

DFSG is more restrictive than OSI, from what i understand. Maybe the
folks from debian legal can offer a concise comparison.

> The pressure put upon me to change the license of libcwd is driven
> by either personal favours or misunderstandings.  There is no need
> to change it as it satisfies the DFSG.  Unless your lawyers prove
> otherwise and an explicit note on the debian website is made that
> the QPL does NOT satisfy the DFSG I advise you to take no action
> and keep things as the are.

carlo, i am on your side. but let's try to get this settled once and
for all. let's get the QPL to be called

> from being modified.' -- So, what happens is an encouragement
> Martin, but they cannot force you to remove libcwd from debian (at
> least, not based on these guidelines - which are just that anyway
> - guidelines.)
note my initial reply to the bug...

> > Yes, but the social contract states that people may derive from
> > it all that they want. We don't put limitations on the derived
> > works. It could be closed or open, modified or not.
> What a nonsense - not even the GPL allows closed derived works.

Many licenses are DFSG-free and not GPL. I personally dislike the
GPL for its "viral" feel. mr. balmer wasn't too wrong, but he didn't
refer to GNU, he referred to linux as a whole.

i release all my work under the artistic licence, or the
do-as-you-damned-well-please licence, or an attribution licence.
afaict, all these allow closed derivation. yet, they are all

the point is: the licence can put limitations on the software to
a certain degree. debian never increases these limitations, at least
not for dfsg-free licences.

> > I agree, though it's not going to be easy. Say I screwed the
> > licence. What are you going to do now? An international suit?
> You and me would know the law would be on my side.

But if 'I' was someone malicious? Or if I would actually turn
against you and you'd find out that I just pretended to be on your
side? (don't worry... purely hypothetical)

> We'd exchange some emails and things would be settled out of court
> without travel or lawyer expenses.  What we need is clarity in the
> license - I am not anticipating on dealing with people who
> willingly screw the license and laugh at me in my face.

so what are you anticipating?

> I trust that debian will still include libcwd.

i hope so too. i really like it.

Please do not CC me when replying to lists; I read them!
 .''`.     martin f. krafft <madduck@debian.org>
: :'  :    proud Debian developer, admin, and user
`. `'`
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing a system
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