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Re: Termination clauses, was: Choice of venue



On Tue, Jul 20, 2004 at 01:38:33PM -0400, David Nusinow wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 20, 2004 at 01:23:11PM -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> > It's that last bit which is non-free.  If they did something like the
> > FSF, and asked for copyright assignment, that would be free.
> > 
> > If they did something like best practical, and warned that they would
> > consider anything submitted to them by its author to include an
> > implied BSD-ish license, that would be free.
> 
> Any code submitted upstream to the author will have the QPL attached to it, and
> thus will not become hidden or proprietary should upstream choose to distribute
> it.

Read 3b again.  It states that the initial developer gets a special licence
to sell my work to people under different licences, as well as release it
under the QPL.  It's hardly a stretch to work out a case where my
modifications might be nominally released under the QPL, but not readily
available, whilst it gets wide distribution under some proprietary licence.

> > But when they make it a condition of the license, a fee I must pay in
> > order to distribute modifications, then it is no longer free software.
> 
> This brings us back full circle to the definition of a fee. I still
> contend that by forcing downstream distribution of source, the GPL imparts
> a fee of its own, and yet we accept that as free.

I consider that to be a fee consistent with the expansion of Free Software. 
In order to distribute modified binaries, I have to licence my source to the
recipient as well.  That has clear freedom-enhancing properties (Now With
Freesol, for added Freeness!)  The QPL says I must give a carte-blanche
licence to the initial developer of the work I modify.  I don't see how that
is enhancing Free Software.

I don't particularly like to call it a fee as such, especially since DFSG #1
says "fee for such sale", and we're not necessarily selling the work.  But I
cannot in good conscience say that just because the letter of the DFSG
doesn't say it, that it's automatically Free.  Especially in this case --
forcing me to licence my modifications to some special party specially.  If
we read DFSG #3 with an implied "only" in there -- "must allow them to be
distributed [only] under the same terms" -- then forcing me to give a
special licence to someone else is bad.  My phrasing there is bad -- it
makes it sound as though the DFSG then prohibits licences which say "licence
your modified version as you like", but hopefully you get the idea.

- Matt



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