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Re: RE-PROPOSED: The Dictator Test

Branden Robinson wrote:

> Forwarding with permission of author, who accidentally replied privately.
> ----- Forwarded message from Juergen Weigert <jw@suse.de> -----
> From: Juergen Weigert <jw@suse.de>
> To: Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org>
> Subject: Re: RE-PROPOSED: The Dictator Test
> Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 18:05:05 +0200
> Message-ID: <20040707160505.GD1170@suse.de>
> X-Spam-Status: No, hits=-1.5 required=4.0 tests=BAYES_01 autolearn=ham
> version=2.63
> On Jul 07, 04 05:04:33 -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
>> The Dictator Test:
>>   A licence is not Free if it prohibits actions which, in the absence of
>>   acceptance of the licence, would be allowed by copyright or other
>>   applicable laws.
>>   License grantors do not have a private right of legislation; that is,
>>   they are not dictators who can subject you to their personal
>>   jurisdiction through a license.
>> If anyone has an objection, please speak up ASAP.
> Hmmm,
> may bite back, if law is more permissive than we expected?
> For illustration, let me invent the Country of Sillyness.
> There copyright law generally permits software vendors
> to keep the origin of code as a secret.
> (even if it is obvious that GPLed code was used.)
> Now, the GPL says that source code must be disclosed.
> Would that put the title 'Dictator' on RMS?

Your words are confusing.

Do you mean "their copyright law explicitly gives unrestricted permission to
distribute certain works in binary form without source without permission
from the copyright holder, but removes that right if you agree to
distribute any copies under another license?"

Well, that sounds absurdly convoluted, and I'm not about to worry about it
unless there's a country which really does this.
(I can't come up with any other construction of your words which runs into
the Dictator test at all.  If the country simply didn't grant copyright
rights over derivative works to the original copyright holder, then you
could create derivative works and distribute them without source,
regardless of the GPL, and that would be just fine.)

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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