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Re: GPL v3 Draft

On Mon, Jan 16, 2006 at 02:15:09PM -0500, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> > No covered work constitutes part of an effective technological protection
> > measure: that is to say, distribution of a covered work as part of a system
> > to generate or access certain data constitutes general permission at least
> > for development, distribution and use, under this License, of other
> > software capable of accessing the same data.
> It sounds like this means "if your GPL application accesses data, you grant
> a GPL license to every other application that accesses the data".

Not quite -- it says "you give general permission for other applications
to be distributed under the GPL". Which means that when someone does
reverse engineer your stuff, and puts it in a GPLed app, you can't then
say "You don't have permission to do that because you're violationg <my
patents|the DMCA>" -- because you've already given them the permission
you claim they don't have.

> > d) Distribute the Object Code by offering access to copy it
> > from a designated place, and offer equivalent access to copy
> > the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place.
> > You need not require recipients to copy the Corresponding Source
> > along with the Object Code.
> > [If the place to copy the Object Code is a network server, the
> > Corresponding Source may be on a different server that supports
> > equivalent copying facilities, provided you have explicitly
> > arranged with the operator of that server to keep the
> > Corresponding Source available for as long as needed to satisfy
> > these requirements, and provided you maintain clear directions
> > next to the Object Code saying where to find the Corresponding
> > Source.]
> This seems to imply that I can't put the object code on an http server,
> and the source code on an ftp server, because their copying facilities
> are not "equivalent".

HTTP and FTP sound pretty equivalent to me. I don't think you'd have any
problems finding an expert witness to testify to that. HTTP and rsync
might not be, though. I'm not sure a court would have much difficulty in
allowing "equivalent" to allow for "well, the source archive is /more/
capable, we figured that woudl be fine", though.

> I may want to use a special-purpose download server for object files,
> for automatic downloading and installation of binaries; that server
> may have carefully limited facilities, as fewer unused features in a
> server means less to break, which means less downtime.  In that case,
> I'm likely to want to put the source on a more traditional http server.
> This clause seems to unintentionally prohibit this class of
> distribution.

That could be, though I'm not sure that wouldn't turn into an argument for
allowing lines like "sure we have our binaries on akamai, and our sources
on a secondhand m68k behind a modem, but hey, they're both on the net!"

> > d) They may require that the work contain functioning facilities that

It's interesting that the word they've chosen is "contain", not "retain".

> > allow users to immediately obtain copies of its Complete Corresponding
> > Source Code.
> Such terms make code reuse with non-networked applications extremely
> inconvenient, and prohibit reuse in embedded environments (eg. a device
> with 32k of memory, no network facilities, and limited or no visual output).
> I'd find it disturbing for the FSF to even call such terms free; they're
> going much further, and condoning it by making it GPL-compatible.
> (This is, by a wide margin, my biggest objection.)

OTOH, at its absolute worst, it doesn't make GPLv3 stuff that doesn't make
use of that option non-free.

On Mon, Jan 16, 2006 at 11:02:09PM +0100, Bas Zoetekouw wrote:
> IMO, this is a clear violation of DFSG 6.  If we allow terrorists to use
> our code, and allow it to be used in biological weapons research,
> clearly also black hat hackers must be allowed to use it to produce
> spyware.

I don't think it's right to demand that authors give explicit permission
to do illegal things; and I don't think we should start treating a lack
of permission and explicitly not giving permission as different.

I read that clause as banning distribution of (a certain class of)
contraband, which is banned already anyway -- probably even to create or
possess, let alone distribute. As such, I'm not actually sure it covers
anything in practice. If that's not correct, and it is banning things that
aren't already illegal, there might be a problem.


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