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Re: BitTorrent Open Source License (Proposed Changes)

On Saturday 30 July 2005 02:26 pm, Michael Janssen wrote:
> Sean Kellogg <skellogg <at> u.washington.edu> writes:
> [8< Cut Venue Clause and re-writing 8<]
> > Hmm...  Personally, I'm not convinced that venue clauses are non-free. 
> > But if they are willing to drop a venue requirement, that's great for
> > users of Debian!  I'm surprised that folks on this list are comfortable
> > with such strong choice-of-law provisions.  Again, I don't believe such
> > clauses are non-free, but I believe I've heard the argument made before. 
> > (A license has got to be interpreted under laws somewhere...  might as
> > well establish the laws prior to the agreement instead of fighting it out
> > in court.)
> I was under the impression that choice-of-law was OK for most, but
> choice-of-venue  was cause for non-DFSG-ness.

Like I said, I'm not convinced.  If there is a suit, the suit must be brought 
somewhere...  what is non-free about deciding that somewhere ahead of time?  
Inconvenient to you?  Maybe.  But as I undersatnd it, being sued is always 
inconvenient, regardless of where the suit will be brought.  I hardly 
consider that descrimination, so what DFSG clause is applicable here?

> [8< Cut Section 4b and rewrite 8<]
> > What's the concern here?  The GPL only requires that I provide a source
> > distribution method for three years (clause 3(b))...  why can't this
> > license only require source distribution for six months?  This change
> > seems unnecessary to pass under the DSFG if the GPL is acceptable.
> The GPL gives you a choice of three methods - one of which is to provide
> the source at the same time with no requirement to keep it available.  This
> license forces you to keep the source for any version you distribute
> electronically online for 6 months for every version you distribute - which
> is much much longer than the average source is kept in unstable, for
> example.

Oh, wow...  here my thought was people felt six months wasn't long enough...  
not too long.  I suppose that certainly could be a problem for the manner in 
which Debian distributes, however, I don't think it is a DFSG problem.  That 
aside, I wonder if your proposed language actually fixes the identified 
problem.  The distributor is required to keep source code for any version so 
long as that version is "available."  It begs the questions what is 
"available" and I suggest it does not mean "distribute" because you chose not 
to use that term, even though it is used in early sections of the clause.  
So, if "available" != "distribute", it could mean so long as I am able to 
acquire the software (regarldess of who is doing the distribution)...  which 
is probably worse than the six month requirement in the current version.

I think you would be better off changing the language from "available" to 
"distribute" to clear up an uncertainty.

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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