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Re: DRAFT: debian-legal summary of the QPL

Don Armstrong <don@donarmstrong.com> wrote:
>On Fri, 16 Jul 2004, Matthew Garrett wrote:
>> In the case of forced distribution of code back upstream, it results
>> in a wider range of people being able to take advantages of your
>> modifications.
>So would a license that required you to redistribute any custom
>modifications to any other unrelated software that you had made
>available as a condition of distributing modified versions of it.
>Hopefully you agree the above is clearly non free.

Yes, but only because I don't believe licenses should affect the
distribution of anything other than the code they cover. At the point
where we start using licenses to do anything other than extend copyright
law (by, say, restricting your rights under other licenses) we've lost a
great deal of the moral argument.

>In the specific case that you mention, we've used DFSG 5 as a
>mechanism for rejecting licenses that require distribution of
>modifications to people outside of the distribution path of binaries
>made from those modifications. 

You have, and those arguments are weak. There's also disagreement here -
some people claim forced distribution breaches DFSG 1, some claim it
breaches DFSG 5. There's no consistent and coherent argument going on,
other than a sort of fuzzy "We think it's not free, and we can sort of
point at these two things and handwave and say they cover them". And,
frankly, that's not convincing. The GPL discriminates against a slightly
smaller set of dissidents. The GPL discriminates against people on
desert islands who have a binary CD but not a source one. Make the tests
sufficiently silly and we can ban every single license for
discriminating against a field of endeavour.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59-chiark.mail.debian.legal@srcf.ucam.org

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