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DRAFT: debian-legal summary of the QPL

Here is a proposed summary of the QPL 1.0, based on the relevant threads
on debian-legal.  Suggestions are welcome, as well as statements of
whether or not this DRAFT summary accurately represents your position.

Please note that until other debian-legal participants indicate their
position on this DRAFT summary, it does not necessarily represent the
debian-legal consensus.  For this reason, I am sending this only to
debian-legal, for further discussion.

--- Begin DRAFT debian-legal summary of the QPL 1.0 ---

The members of the debian-legal mailing list have examined the Q Public
License (QPL), version 1.0, and determined that software licensed solely
under this license is not Free Software according to the Debian Free
Software Guidelines (DFSG).

* Clause 6c requires modified versions that are not distributed to the
public to be provided to the original developer on request.  This
requirement fails the "Desert Island" test and the "Dissident" test (see
sections 9a, 9b, and 12o of the DFSG FAQ at
http://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html).  DFSG-free licenses must
allow non-distributed or privately-distributed modifications, and cannot
require distribution to anyone, except for requiring that source be
distributed to those who receive a binary.

* The license contains a "choice of venue" clause, which states that
"Disputes shall be settled by Amsterdam City Court.".  Since in many
legal jurisdictions, a party that fails to appear and defend themselves
in the courts of the given jurisdiction will automatically lose such a
dispute, such "choice of venue" clauses place an undue burden on the
recipient of the software in the face of any legal action (whether
legitimate or not), and are therefore considered non-free.  Such clauses
also fail the "Tentacles of Evil" test (see section 9c of the DFSG FAQ
at http://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html), since the original
developer can bring many unfounded legal actions against distributors
and force them to travel to a given location to defend themselves, which
would effectively remove the right to distribute the software.

For software currently licensed under the QPL 1.0 whose authors desire
its inclusion in Debian, debian-legal recommends licensing that software
under a Free Software license such as the GNU GPL, either in place of or
as an alternative to the QPL 1.0.

--- End DRAFT debian-legal summary of the QPL 1.0 ---

- Josh Triplett

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