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Re: Contracts and licenses

Nathanael Nerode <neroden@twcny.rr.com> wrote:
> This should be considered as a restriction on the grant of rights to
> distribute the program.  If you had rights to distribute the program
> binary-only for other reasons separate from the license (say, a different
> license), and this license took those rights away, this would *not* be a
> free requirement.

Right, but that is circular reasoning.  Why is this a bad thing, *IF IT

> For instance, consider a GPL-licensed work where the copyright holder offers
> licenses to use the program without source for a fee.  I should certainly
> be able to use the proprietary license from the copyright holder for one
> project and the GPL for another.  If the GPL contained such a requirement
> and it wasn't a restriction on the grant of rights, but rather an *actual*
> consideration, this would be impossible.  Get the picture?

I had to read this four times, and I still don't understand your
example.  I think you are talking about cases where a restriction in the
license interferes with some other license?  In that case, I point you
back to the GPL clause which allows you to distribute binary and make
the source code available.  IANAL, but even if I have a separate license
that says I can distribute the binary without posting source, I still
can't undo the fact that in the past I have already distributed the
binary under the GPL option.  However, I can certainly use the
newly-obtained  license for disributions in the future.

Generalizing, if the restriction does not interfere with the normal
free-software rights, I do not see the problem.

Also, note that the new license is surely non-free.  I don't think we
should overly concern ourselves with how free licenses mix with non-free
ones, because a non-free license can go so far as saying stuff like "You
will not redistribute a GPL program.  Ever.".  We can't defend against

By the way, I think a big part of my frustration with these discussions
is the use of the word "free".  When I say "free", please take it as
"the requirement Debian makes of software", or often, "the requirement
Debian *should* make of software".


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