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Re: PROPOSED: the Dictator Test (was: Contractual requirements [was: request-tracker3: license shadiness])

On Thu, 2004-07-01 at 08:05, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 11, 2004 at 02:49:19PM -0400, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> > On Fri, Jun 11, 2004 at 11:57:38PM +1000, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> > > This comment has just clarified something that's been rattling around
> > > half-formed in my head for a little while now, regarding Free licences.  I
> > > don't know if it's been raised before, but I think it bears discussion:
> > > 
> > > "A licence cannot be Free if it disallows actions which, in the absence of
> > > acceptance of the licence, would be allowed by Copyright law, or imposes
> > > restrictions not present by Copyright law".
> > > 
> > > To put it another way (and closer to Brian's wording), if the licence isn't
> > > simply a grant of permission but requires things of me which I would
> > > otherwise be allowed to do, it can't be free.
> > 
> > As far as I (and d-legal, I believe) understand it, to disallow these
> > things, you need to form a contract (an EULA).  Most restrictions which
> > require this are non-free.
> > 
> > I wouldn't quite go so far as to generalize it to "all"; it's probably better
> > to look at the restrictions on their own merits, which will usually also show
> > them to be non-free (and in a more direct way than "this probably isn't
> > enforcable under copyright law alone").  Attempting to go being copyright law
> > is a good hint that something may be wrong, though.
> The above did not get much discussion; I'd just like to AOL it, and

The TLA AOL does not come up in dict; can you please explain that to me/

> suggest that any license which attempts to prohibit that which would
> otherwise be legal is non-free by definition.

Sounds like a useful rule of thumb

> Yes, this will vary by jurisdiction, but that is already true for many
> of the decisions we have to make (crypto-in-main, the expiration of the
> LZW patent, etc.).

Can we generalize and say something like any license which attempts to
restrict beyond the lowest common denominator of copyright laws that
exist today?

Or is the Autocrat Test simply a jurisdictional test?

In which case, what jurisdictions does Debian abide by? Those within
which DDs currently reside? Where Debian is currently used by end users?

> We should come up with a name for this test.  Maybe the "Autocrat Test"

I like Autocrat Test as a name for it.

> or the "Dictator Test"?  The copyright (or patent, or trademark) holder
> does not get to make up his or her own laws?


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