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Re: Adobe open source license -- is this licence free?

On Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 04:01:30PM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> On 28 Jan 2006 11:32:08 -0500, Michael Poole <mdpoole@troilus.org> 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.

> 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.

No.  Read the list archives.  Those of us who argue against choice-of-venue
have been doing so for months, on licenses from a wide range of licensors.
It just happens that the argument against choice-of-venue is predicated on
the possibility of a hostile licensor going sue-happy and using this license
clause to get away with harrassment suits *that they otherwise could not
afford to carry out separately and would not withstand the barest scrutiny
if brought against everyone in their home court as a single suit*.

License freeness certainly should be analyzed without regard for the
identity of the copyright holder[1]; it should be *assumed* that the
copyright holder is hostile, because *copyrights can be transferred*.  And
here we have the most perfect example imaginable of a license being offered
by a copyright holder with a known and public history of hostility towards
information freedom, and people still don't acknowledge that there's a risk
here.  It's flabbergasting!

> 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),

No, what you describe would be a bug in the legal system, not a bug in the
license.  That's a crucial difference.  There is nothing *in the GPL* that
gives the copyright holder unfair leverage to sue a bunch of people at low
per-unit cost to them.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

[1] as distinct from clarifying statements the copyright holder has *made*
about their intent

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