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-legal making decisions for users and the GPL's lesser clauses [Re: BitTorrent Open Source License (Proposed Changes)]

On Sat, 30 Jul 2005, Sean Kellogg wrote:
> On Saturday 30 July 2005 04:38 pm, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> > On Sat, Jul 30, 2005 at 08:55:33AM -0700, Sean Kellogg wrote:
> > > I'm surprised that folks on this list are comfortable with such
> > > strong choice-of-law provisions.
> >
> > Choice of law provisions are thusly fine so long as they don't
> > choose laws that strongly favour the license holder.
> what right does Debian-Legal have in deciding my legal decisions as
> a user? The DFSG set out the kind of software that Debian is to
> distribute, it is not a tool for D-L to make my legal decisions.

Where exactly has anyone made legal decisions for you as a user?
debian-legal is just helping to illuminate the issues underlying these
licenses so that Debian can make sound decisions as to which works are
included in main and which works we can even distribute at all.

Clearly we can't make legal decisions for you; if you're getting that
impression, I'd like to dispell it right now.

> If I want to have a choice-of-venue agreement with a software
> distributor, who is Debian to stand in my way?

How could we stand in a users way anyway? Clearly they're capable of
making any legal sort of agreement with a distributor they wish to?

We're interested in avoiding Debian and its users getting involved in
such legal agreements accidentally, nothing more.

> > > What's the concern here? The GPL only requires that I provide a
> > > source distribution method for three years (clause 3(b))
> >
> > We don't consider clauses 3b or 3c to be free. We require
> > distribution under 3a to be possible, in which case the license is
> > free (since the licensee can use 3a and therefore be exempt from
> > the others).
> Huh? Debian has determined that clauses of the GPL are non-free?

Clauses of any license taken in isolation can be non-free. The GPL is
not sancrosant in this aspect. Obviously, we don't look at individual
clauses alone; we examine them in the context of the license as a
whole. If there is a path through the license that is DFSG free, then
the license is (generally) DFSG free.

Furthermore, in the case of the GPL we don't even need to get into the
freeness of those clauses at all, since it is technically infeasible
for the mirror network to distribute works under the GPL that we
cannot distribute under 3a. [But then, far be it from me to keep
ourselves from discussing hypotheticals here.]

> Seriously man, where do you get off?

If at all possible, can we please keep the personal attacks out of our
discussions? Such messages reflect badly on all parties involved,
including this list.

Don Armstrong

UF: What's your favourite coffee blend?
PD: Dark Crude with heavy water. You are understandink? "If geiger
    counter does not click, the coffee, she is just not thick."

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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