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Re: Bug#317359: kde: ..3'rd "Help"->"About $KDE-app" tab calls the GPL "License Agreement", ie; a contract.

On Sunday 10 July 2005 09:53 pm, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 10, 2005 at 05:51:17PM -0700, Sean Kellogg wrote:
> > Glenn, don't you think he's talking about technologically impractical. 
> > We all know how easy it is to circumvent click wrap licenses.  But you
> > HAVE to agree to the GPL to download the software, click wrap or not, so
> > its not really impractical from a freedom sense.
> Technically impractical *is* non-free.  Marco believes, as far as I
> understand (from past messages), that a license requiring technically
> mpractical things as conditions for basic freedoms is free.  A "you must
> send 250 redundant copies of the source along with binaries, to make
> sure that the recipient gets at least one intact" is technically
> impractical; a Linux distribution with two discs of source would have to
> ship five hundred.  I hope such a restriction is clearly non-free.

Yeah, your example makes sense because it requires you to do more than is 
required under the GPL (a violation of the GPL itself).  But agreeing to the 
terms of the GPL is not an additional requirement ontop of the GPL.  The 
gobbly gook in Section 5 of the GPL is, I would suggest, mostly 
unenforceable...  part of the "you can't say something is X when its actually 
Y and expext it to be treated as X" doctrine.  Its just like "work for hire" 
stuff, you can't declare it's a work for hire when its not.  

In response to an earlier suggestion, whether the GPL covers actions beyond 
modification and distribution...  my copy of the GPL says, in section 1, that 
I have the right to make copies of code "as I receive it."  Now that is 
certainly interesting language.  If I am given a copy of the software on CD 
by someone who agrees to the GPL, then it would seem I'm fine to keep the CD 
and do whatever even if I vigorously reject the GPL.  Fair enough...  but 
when I run 'apt-get', am I the one doing the copying or is the distributor 
doing the copying?  I could really see it going either way....  but certainly 
if I come upon someone's computer, burn code to a CD on my own, I am engaged 
in copying.  And, like I said before, the only thing that gives you the right 
to copy is the GPL, which means you have to agree to it.

So why does an author's decision to display those terms when you first install 
or to call it a "License Agreement" (desperate attempt to return to subject) 
violate the GPL or the DFSG?

Sean Kellogg
3rd Year - University of Washington School of Law
Graduate & Professional Student Senate Treasurer
UW Service & Activities Committee Interim Chair 
w: http://probonogeek.blogspot.com

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