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Re: sql-ledger may belong in non-free

On Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 03:35:10AM -0500, Warren Turkal wrote:
> I am not subscribed to this list. Please CC if you need me to reply.

If you wish to be copied on replies to Debian lists, please set your
Mail-Followup-To header to indicate this, instead of asking everyone
else to adjust headers manually.  :)

> I was reading through the Terms & Conditions[1] (henceforth Terms page) on the 
> and I am not sure that it conforms to the DFSG, specifically section 3. If 
> you look at the Terms page, you will notice that the section on "Extending 
> and Re-branding SQL-Ledger" indicates that the GPL only allow the derivative 
> work to be a "Larger Work" and that you cannot remove the SQL-Ledger logo as 
> a result.

The text in question (for archival and quoting purposes) is:

"The GPL license allows you to extend SQL-Ledger and distribute the
"Larger Work". This does NOT mean, that you can remove or alter the
copyright, nor remove or alter the SQL-Ledger logo. You must give the
"Larger Work" a different name, but must include "Powered by SQL-Ledger"
in the product name or subtitle. (e.g. XYZ Accounting, Powered by
SQL-Ledger). In addition, you need to acknowledge the SQL-Ledger
trademark and copyright ("SQL-Ledger ™ is a registered trademark of DWS
Systems Inc. Copyright © DWS Systems Inc. All rights reserved.").

If you do not want to display the SQL-Ledger logo, the "powered by", or
the trademark and copyright notice, you need to obtain explicit
permission from DWS."

You're correct; this text has no connection to the GPL, which says no
such things; it's just a collection of false statements.  This puts the
software in an uncertain state: on one hand, they're giving permissions
(the GPL), and on the other, they're saying you don't have them.  Either
this page is not legally binding, and we do have the permissions of the
GPL, or it is, and they're being contradictory (in which case the work
is probably not safe to distribute at all).

Of course, Debian both tends to take the safe option in this type situation,
as well as tries to honor the author's desires as closely as possible; both
of these imply that Debian shouldn't be distributing this software.

As an aside, in this type of case, I have a hard time figuring out what these
people were thinking.  One speculation is that they wanted to use some third-
party GPL code, but also want to apply those restrictions.  (In that case,
they're probably violating the GPL.)  Another would be that they want the
publicity from releasing under the GPL, but don't actually want to release
under the GPL.  Finally, they might just be confused, and actually believe
the GPL says what they say it does, though I'd have a hard time believing

(Also curious: their trademark license requires acknowledgement of a copyright;
"SQL-Ledger ™ is a trademark of DWS Systems Inc. Copyright © DWS Systems Inc.
All rights reserved.", even for uses of the trademark independent of any
copyrighted work.  Huh?)

You might try to convince them to fix up their licensing, but I'd have no
idea where to start.  :)  Somebody else on this list might have some ideas;
alternatively, you could ask the FSF for help--I'd expect that reducing
incorrect, confusing claims about what the GPL means is something they'd
be very interested in.

Glenn Maynard

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