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licenses with name changing clauses (was: license of cstex / cslatex)

Thomas Esser <te@dbs.uni-hannover.de> wrote:

> I had done modifications of three files of that package and distributed
> the changed files using the original filename. The author told me that
> this violates his license. Actually, this only happened, because when
> reading his license the first time, I stopped as soon as I saw a reference
> to the GPL (and did not read the appendix).

I've seen you've fixed that by uploading a new tetex-texmf tarball with
the buggy, unchanged versions in them.  I think an alternative would
have been to rename "the macro package" to something like csplainfixed,
install it into a different directory (adapting the necessary kpathsea
variables) and keep the filenames.  This would make a drop-in
replacement that works...

> Questions:
>     - is it valid to refer to GPL and add such severe restrictions in
>       an appendix?

I think he can use whichever license he wants, so GPL with additional
restrictions are legal, too.  He may have a hard time sueing you, but I
guess he didn't try that.

>     - is this a "free software" license in the FSF definition?

No idea, but I'd assume yes.

>     - is this license free enough to allow an inclusion of the software
>       into debian?

Yes, DFSG #4 says:

| The license may require derived works to carry a different name or
| version number from the original software. (This is a compromise. The
| Debian group encourages all authors not to restrict any files, source
| or binary, from being modified.

While we're at it, there's a different issue in teTeX and TeXLive for
which I'd like to have some advice from -legal. ukhyphen.tex has now a
supposedly free license, but it has a broader renaming clause:

% if
% such modifications are re-distributed, the modified
% file must not be capable of being confused with the
% original.  In particular, this means
%(a) the filename (the portion before the extension, if any)
%    must not match any of :
%        UKHYPH                  UK-HYPH
%        UKHYPHEN                UK-HYPHEN
%        UKHYPHENS               UK-HYPHENS
%   regardless of case,

The first question is whether "match" is to be read as "strings are
equal" or like in "grep gave N matches".  In the latter case, this is
probably analogous to the PHP license forbidding this string in any
name, even "graphplot".  I didn't follow the PHP threads, but I guess
this would be non-free.  However, I read it as "the strings match", then
I may call a derivative ukhyph1.tex or ukhyphnew.tex, and I would tend
to accept this under the "compromise clause" of the DFSG.

By the way, the other question which has been raised in the upstream
mailing list is whether the person who settled this restrictive license
actually has the right to do so - while he's the current maintainer, he
is said to not have contributed much, the former maintainer agreed on
LPPL, and originally the data were in the public domain...

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX)

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