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Re: DRAFT: debian-legal summary of the QPL

Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Glenn Maynard wrote:
>>I just don't find "silent majority" arguments interesting.  This isn't a
>>private mailing list; if you disagree, argue your position, instead of
>>arguing that the conclusions of the list are meaningless.
> I have a certain amount of frustration at the fact that people
> continually assert that the freedom of someone on a desert island to be
> able to distribute the software is a fundamental one that must be
> protected. In the past, we have compromised in order to be able to
> distribute software that we thought was "free enough" - DFSG 4 is a good
> example of this. Those active on debian-legal appear less willing to
> make those compromises. Failure to acknowledge that the opinions of
> debian-legal may diverge from that of other developers is likely to
> result in debian-legal becoming increasingly marginalised. Which would
> be unfortunate.

"The opinions of debian-legal" consist of the opinions of all those
developers and non-developers who participate on this list.  This is not
a closed list.  If the opinions of some developers diverge from the
opinions on debian-legal, then those developers should start
participating on debian-legal and expressing their opinions.

>>>With the possible exception of the dissident test, I don't think any of
>>>these are obviously freedom issues. I'm also not sure I buy the
>>>dissident test - the GPL allows for a hostile government to declare that
>>>it holds a patent on some section of the subversive code and prevent it
>>>from being distributed any further. This is potentially worse for the
>>>dissident movement as a whole, even if it's better for the individual
>>>dissident who wrote the code. They can't comply with the GPL unless they
>>>fight the lawsuit, and, uh, well. Oops.
>>A hostile government can also declare that the subversive code can not
>>be distributed because it says so; that's not the point of that test.
>>Please see http://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html, 9 A(a).
> Did you mean 9A(b)? "Any requirement for sending source modifications to
> anyone other than the recipient of the modified binary---in fact any
> forced distribution at all, beyond giving source to those who receive a
> copy of the binary---would put the dissident in danger." The very fact
> that he's a dissident puts him in danger, and the hostile government can
> declare that the source must be provided regardless of what the license
> says. I still can't imagine a practical situation where this would be an
> issue. If the dissident is likely to be put in danger then he is already
> doing something worse than breaching copyright law.

I believe the situation in the Dissident test is that the laws of the
totalitarian government are irrelevant.  The Dissident test triggers if,
when the dissident finally leaves the jurisdiction of the totalitarian
government, some copyright holder can say that the actions they took to
maintain their privacy violated the copyright license, by the laws of
non-totalitarian governments.

- Josh Triplett

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