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Re: Anti-DMCA clause (was Re: GPL v3 Draft

Walter Landry wrote:
> Nathanael Nerode <neroden@twcny.rr.com> wrote:
>>Walter Landry <wlandry@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>>That is the basic problem with these anti-DRM clauses: differentiating
>>>between DRM and legitimate privacy controls is basically impossible.
>>I think it is possible.  It requires a sharp focus on the *legal*
>>issues, since the technology is not different, but the legal basis
>>is.  A legitimate privacy control may control access to many things
>>-- but it does *not* exert control over works you have published
>>(since they're, well, *public*.)
> A legitimate privacy device may function very much like DRM.  Consider
> classified environments, where you really don't want people to copy
> things around willy-nilly.  Making it hard to copy information won't
> eliminate leaks, but it will reduce them.  I don't see why making a
> system to handle classified documents should be disallowed by the GPL.

Again, the goal of this clause isn't to prohibit the creation of such
systems.  The goal is merely to curtail the application of laws such as
the DMCA which would give such systems the force of law.

I believe the best solution to this confusion would be to frame the
clause with something like "For the purposes of [laws like the DMCA,
stated in some generic manner]"

This does raise another interesting point: there are laws in some
jurisdictions which mandate the use of certain measures to protect
privacy in certain situations, such as patient medical records.  It
would be problematic if this clause was taken as a legal definition in
those cases as well, preventing the use of GPLed software for that
purpose.  Thus, the above indication of scope might actually be
necessary, with a sufficiently narrow description of DMCA-like laws.

- Josh Triplett

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