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Re: CDDL, OpenSolaris, Choice-of-venue and the star package ...

Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net> wrote:
> Scripsit Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk>
>> In the case you're worrying about (obnoxious large businesses suing
>> people in order to intimidate them), the difference in cost is
>> unlikely to deter them.
> The point is that the cost *for me* of defending myself is much more
> favourable.

You're ignoring the cost of paying for any sort of legal advice, which
isn't very realistic. If you want to redefine choice of venue as
"Discriminates against poor people who are competent to represent
themselves legally", then I'd be more inclined to take it seriously.

>> If the licensor doesn't have enough money to enforce them, then yes, I
>> think they're pointless. What's the point of a license that you can't
>> enforce?
> In the free software world, the point of having a license is to
> *allow* others to use, share and extend your software.

No. The point of the GPL is to allow others to use, share and extend
your software and to ensure that their derivative works remain free
themselves. If you can't do the latter, you might as well have released
it into the public domain.
>> The DFSG are not holy writ, but how about if I phrase it as
>> discrimination against licensors without money?
> That wouldn't make your argument more coherent. We're concerned
> exclusively with which rights the *user* gets. Whether the author
> thinks it is worth it to give the user those rights is not something
> we consider at all. We can just observe that sufficiently many
> software authors *have* been willing to do so that we can put together
> a good free OS. There is no reason to start including software in our
> OS where the user only gets freedoms with this kind of strings
> attached.

Oh, bollocks. The social contract is with the free software community,
not just the users. Arguing that the rights of the user are the only
ones that matter suggests that the GPL ought to be non-free - it
restricts the rights of users in favour of the rights of developers.
In the vast majority of cases, choice of venue makes it more practical
for developers to justifiably enforce their licenses. The fact that it
has the potential to be used against users doesn't make it evil, any
more than the fact that decss can be used to facilitate DVD piracy makes
it evil.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59-chiark.mail.debian.legal@srcf.ucam.org

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