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Re: Results for Debian's Position on the GFDL

On 3/14/06, Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 14, 2006 at 03:06:58PM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> > For the DRM issue to be significant, we'd have to have reason to
> > believe that a judge would not be familiar with the legal meaning of
> > the phrase "technical measures" in the context of copyright law.
> > Other meanings of "technical measures" would lead to ludicrous
> > conclusions (for example: once we've started giving someone a copy we
> > must keep spamming copies, never being allowed to stop).
> Encrypting a document (whether via GPG or HTTPS) sure seems like a technical
> measure to obstruct the reading of copies.

In the general case, this is not a technical measure to enforce the copyright
holder's legal rights on the recipient of the copy.

If the recipient is not allowed to decrypt the document, except under legally
restrictive circumstances, that's a different story.

> > And the Opaque issue only applies when the transparent copies are not
> > distributed.  It's simple enough to include the transparent copies in
> > any .deb, and it's simple enough to file an RC bug report against any
> > package with GFDL'd content which doesn't include the transparent
> > copies.
> Maybe I'm misunderstanding the issue you're referring to.  My issue with
> the "transparent copies" bit is that it prohibits converting the document
> to, say, a Word document.

That's allowed.

> The GPL allows it: I can convert it to Word, and make that my source form
> (using it for all future modifications,  throwing away the original HTML and all that).

Not necessarily.

As a counter example: A word document is not the preferred form for working
with .c source code, in the general case.

Of course, in some specific cases a word document might be acceptable.
Likewise, in some specific cases a word document might be transparent.

> I think that, prior to this, the patch clause exception was the biggest
> blunder in the history of the DFSG: calling software which you're never
> allowed to reuse code from Free.

I don't see any votes on this issue.  Perhaps other people in Debian
disagree with you?

> I had hoped that this might be fixed some day, but this GR moves things
> a couple miles in the other direction and I no longer retain any such hope.

Well, it wouldn't "just happen" by itself.  First you'd need a solid core of
acceptable software to build a distribution on.  Once you have that it's
reasonable to go about organizing the distribution in terms of
how the code can be reused.  Until then, this is a development issue,
not a package management issue.

> > It's never been clear to me that the Dissident test is a accurate
> > reflection of the DFSG.  I can think of many ways for a dissident to
> If a dissident is placed in serious danger if his identity is revealed,
> I can't think of any way he could work around a license that requires
> revealing his identity.

The dissident can use pseudonyms, proxies, ambiguity, and obscurity.

> I'm not sure what you mean by "follow their government's suggestions".
> If the license says "identify yourself", and identifying myself working
> on cryptography software will get me thrown in a dark cell, what
> "government suggestion" am I slavishly following?  Copyright law itself?

The suggestion that you can have only one identity.

> > Maybe none of this is new, but aside from the Opaque and DRM issues,
> > none of the proposals or supporting material on vote.debian.org
> > indicate that any of these issues are to be taken seriously.
> That's the problem: license problems are not being taken seriously.

I think you're overgeneralizing.


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