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Re: Affero General Public License

<quote who="Jeremy Hankins" date="Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 11:35:55AM -0500">
> "Benj. Mako Hill" <mako@debian.org> writes:
> > <quote who="Jeremy Hankins" date="Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 09:06:39AM -0500">
> > The bigger problem is that by arguing for this type of new law, we are
> > arguing for an expansion of existing copyright law. I'm sure that MS
> > and many other ASPs who want to bring copyright into the interactions
> > between software on their servers and their users would welcome
> > this. We should not. Arguing for stronger copyright as a means of
> > getting stronger copyleft is a self-defeating, poor strategically, and
> > ethically indefensible.
> Isn't this exactly what the Affero bit and GPLv3(7d) do?  They also
> "bring copyright into the interactions between [ASP software] and [...]
> users".

No. They provide a narrowly defined restriction on modification --
something uncontroversially within the exclusive rights of copyright
holders today. The fact that it's being done to preserve freedom is no
different than earlier copyleft. Both merely piggyback on what we
already have.

> I have serious doubts that it can be done in a way that is both weak
> enough to pass DFSG muster and avoid practical problems, and strong
> enough to satisfy those who are concerned about this loophole.

Clearly, the first half is up to us. Some people arguing against this
license seem to think that *any* attempts puts us on the wrong side of
the spirit of the DFSG.

> In the end, I think that those who are concerned about the ASP
> loophole are missing something fundamental about how the free
> software community works.  They fail to appreciate how much it is
> dependant on the good will and respect with which we treat each
> other, and the social pressures we are able to bring to bear on
> offenders against the communities values.  Without that dynamic,
> free software would not work.  With it, I don't believe that the ASP
> loophole is a problem.

If that were the case, we shouldn't need copyleft either IMHO.

> Obviously, the above is just my opinion.  In principle, I see no reason
> not to make minor compromises in order to make the ASP loophole folks
> feel more comfortable, and letting the community decide whether the
> inconveniences are worth that extra peace of mind.  But I don't see the
> ASP loophole as a problem itself, and I don't think that anything more
> than minor compromises are called for.

I think that's the most anyone can ask of someone in your position.


Benjamin Mako Hill

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