Re: Adobe open source license -- is this licence free?
Raul Miller writes:
> On 28 Jan 2006 11:32:08 -0500, Michael Poole <email@example.com> wrote:
> > I submit that, under this logic, fees to execute software or create
> > derivative works are free since they are not mentioned anyhere in the
> > DFSG. The usual response to this is that Debian would be restricted
> > in doing things like porting software, fixing bugs, and so forth. The
> > SC and DFSG make no mention of those tasks, either.
> I think that "people who use the software" constitutes a relevant group
> of people for "The license must not discriminate against any person or
> group of persons."
> I think "people who don't use the software" and "people who violate
> the license terms" do not constitute relevant groups of people.
I think people who modify the software without using it should be
protected against discrimination; for example, porters, translators,
security bug fixers, and the like. I agree that license violators
should not get any special consideration, but that has always been a
strawman in choice-of-venue discussions. (If we had a lawsuit oracle
that correctly indicates whether a person has actually committed a
wrong, lawsuit costs would be negligible.)
> Furthermore, I don't think the problem with this license is a problem
> with the license at all. It's that some people have a problem with
> the licensor. Since the GPL could just as easily be abused for
> harassment purposes (requiring proof of compliance for every
> copy delivered, or some nonsense like that), I think that this kind
> of thing should not be thought of as a DFSG issue.
I and others have objected to choice of venue in licenses where the
license writer did not have Adobe's history of harassing people who
research or implement mechanisms that allow fair use of DRMed works.
If anything, such a history provides stronger reason to be skeptical
about that kind of license provision.
As a procedural matter, the GPL could not be abused in that fashion,
since a lawsuit must allege with specificity the tortious action. A
plaintiff would have to identify at least one specific occasion where
the defendant failed to comply with the license. Other instances
would be subject to discovery.