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Re: GPL v3 Draft

wlandry@ucsd.edu wrote:
> Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 16, 2006 at 02:15:09PM -0500, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> > > > No covered work constitutes part of an effective technological 
> > > > measure: that is to say, distribution of a covered work as part of a 
> > > > to generate or access certain data constitutes general permission at 
> > > > 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 
> > > 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.
> I am not disagreeing with you here, but my main issue with this
> paragraph in the license is that it can just not be true.  GPG is an
> effective way of encrypting communications, and having the license say
> otherwise does not change that.

OK, there's a subtle issue here which could be cleared up with a small change 
in the license.

"Effective technological protection measure" is supposed to mean "Effective 
technological protection measure for preventing copying or distribution".  
This is what it means in the DMCA, which is what the clause is referring to.  
GPG is not in fact an effective way of doing that, since an encrypted copy is 
still a copy (and can be decrypted given some computing power).

What constitutes an effective technological protection measure for preventing 
copying or distribution?  Well, I suppose at first glance a locked safe might 
be.  Or a password-protected site might be.  There is obviously no such thing 
as an "effective technological protection measure" which prevents copying or 
distribution of data *while* providing access to it.

I'm not even sure there is such a thing as an "effective technological 
protection measure" for preventing copying and distribution *at all*.   Safes 
can be cracked (and if you own the safe, it's your right to do so, unless you 
have a contract with someone where you agreed not to); password-protected 
sites can be accessed by the hardware administrator (who again usually has 
the right to do so).

So, if clearly restricted to measures for preventing copying and distribution, 
this clause may in actual fact be *true*.

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