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Re: License of cdrkit - GPLv2 + additional restrictions



On Thu, 14 Sep 2006 15:37:11 +0300 Markus Laire wrote:

> I'm concerned about the licensing of cdrkit[1,2] aka debburn, which
> was recently forked from cdrecord.

I am concerned as well, and I would have started a similar thread just
today, if you hadn't done so before me!

I actually mentioned this same issue near the end of the log for bug
#377109:
http://bugs.debian.org/377109

> 
> The current license seems to be GPLv2 + additional restrictions which
> IMHO is not right because GPLv2 doesn't allow any such additional
> restrictions.

I agree.
GPL + extra-restrictions is self-contradictory.
It could even end up being considered as an invalid license: since we
don't have another license, the package would be undistributable!

See the thread starting at
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/05/msg00298.html
for a discussion on a another case of GPL + extra-restrictions.
The reply from RMS is especially worth noting:
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/05/msg00303.html

> 
> An example from libscg/scsi-linux-ata.c[3]:
[...]
> An another example from cdrecord/cdrecord.c[4]:
[...]
> I mentioned this problem over a week ago[5] at debburn-devel but
> didn't get any response.
> 
> Recently Nathanael Nerode mentioned this problem again[6] and Albert
> Cahalan answered[7]:
[...]
> In my opinion there is clearly a concrete problem as there are
> restrictions in the source-code which are not allowed by GPLv2.

Indeed.

> 
> 
> So I'd now like to ask what debian-legal thinks about this situation,
> and whether the license of cdrkit is OK for Debian-main.

IMHO, the license as stated in cdrkit debian/copyright does not make the
package suitable for inclusion in main (maybe not even for distribution
via the non-free archive, *if* the license is to be considered
invalid...).

I think that a thorough analysis of the restrictions should be done, in
order to clarify the issues to be addressed.


The usual disclaimers: IANAL, IANADD.


-- 
But it is also tradition that times *must* and always
do change, my friend.   -- from _Coming to America_
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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