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Re: License of cdrkit - GPLv2 + additional restrictions

On Sun, 17 Sep 2006 12:14:32 +0200 Francesco Poli wrote:

> For future reference, the debian/copyright file of cdrkit_1.0~pre4-1
> is copied below:

And here are my comments (usual disclaimers: IANAL, IANADD):

> Names of relevant binary program(s) and copyright info have been
> adapted to avoid the violation of the GPL license (as offered by Joerg
> Schilling) and the obligations created by German laws.

This sounds awkward: there's no executable-name change requirement in
the GNU GPL v2.
Having to rename executable commands is a significant restriction on
modification that doesn't pass DFSG#3 (and is not allowed by DFSG#4
which talks about the name of the work, rather than the name of
executable commands).

> Copyright:
> * wodim (originally known as cdrecord)
>   Copyright (c) 1995-2004 J. Schilling
>   License: GPLv2 with the following additional requirement:
> -       You may not modify certain copyright messages in cdrecord.c
>         See cdrecord.c for further information.
> -       You may (with a few exceptions) not modify the location of the
>         configuration file /etc/default/cdrecord.
>         See defaults.c for further information.
> cdrecord.c says (but see below):
> ------------------------------------------
> |   Warning: you are not allowed to modify or to remove the
> |   Copyright and version printing code below!

Quoting Glenn Maynard in

: This is still clearly non-free.  Requiring an appropriate copyright
: notice is acceptable; prohibiting me from modifying the code that does
: so is not.

In other words, this does not pass DFSG#3 (and does not follow from the
GPLv2 text).

> |   See also GPL § 2 subclause c)

Wait, cdrecord does not "normally" read "commands interactively when
run".  Hence, as long as the modified version does not either, GPLv2
clause 2c does not apply.

> |  
> |   If you modify cdrecord you need to include additional version
> |   printing code that:
> |  
> |  	-	Clearly states that the current version is an
> |  		inofficial (modified) version and thus may have bugs
> |  		that are not present in the original.

The GNU GPL v2 does not force me to state that my modified version may
have bugs.
Of course it may have bugs!  The original version may as well have bugs,
for that matter.  But anyway, I'm not forced to explicitly state these
(obvious) things.
This is another restriction on modification that is not allowed by the
GNU GPL v2 and fails DFSG#3.

> |  
> |  	-	Print your support e-mail address and tell people that
> |  		you will do complete support for this version of
> |  		cdrecord.
> |  
> |  		Or clearly state that there is absolutely no support
> |  		for the modified version you did create.

What if I want to create a modified version of cdrecord e provide
*partial* support for it?  That is to say, support as far as my spare
time allows me to do so?
The GNU GPL v2 does not pose a restriction that forces me to completely
support modified versions XOR provide absolutely no support.

What if I want to provide full support via telephone, rather than via
The GNU GPL v2 does not force modifiers to support their modified
versions via e-mail, when they are willing to support them.

> |  
> |  	-	Tell the users not to ask the original author for
> |  		help.

There is no such requirement in the GNU GPL v2.

> |  
> |   This limitation definitely also applies when you use any other
> |   cdrecord release together with libscg-0.6 or later, or when you
> |   use any amount of code from cdrecord-1.11a17 or later.
> |   In fact, it applies to any version of cdrecord, see also
> |   GPL Preamble, subsection 6.
> |  
> |   I am sorry for the inconvenience but I am forced to do this
> |   because some people create inofficial branches. These branches
> |   create problems but the initiators do not give support and thus
> |   cause the development of the official cdrecord versions to slow
> |   down because I am loaded with unneeded work.
> |  
> |   Please note that this is a memorandum on how I interpret the GPL.
> |   If you use/modify/redistribute cdrecord, you need to accept it
> |   this way.

Since this "interpretation" does not follow from the GPL text, it's not
an "interpretation", but a bunch of additional restrictions instead.

> |   
> |  
> |   The above statement is void if there has been neither a new
> |   version of cdrecord nor a new version of star from the original
> |   author within more then a year.
> ------------------------------------------
> For that Andreas Metzler had a mail conversation with Joerg, the last
> and important mail is included below, except an unrelated part I
> removed. It's in German, translation follows after the original mail.
> And now the English translation of the mail above. Only content:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Andreas asks:
> Let me ask again: linuxcheck() is not restricted with
> "you are not allowed to modify or to remove the Copyright and version
> printing code below!"?
> Jörg answers:
> It is allowed to change this and I have a "gap" there intentionally,
> so one can change the uname() check with an automated patch.
> ------------------------------------------------------------

There's no patch-only requirement in the GNU GPL v2, so I'm puzzled: may
I modify this linuxcheck() function or not?

> Thats not a Debian-specific license and it only leaves the version
> printing stuff in cdrecord.c. Which is allowed from GPL.

Not really allowed, IMHO.

> defaults.c says:
> ------------------------------------------
>  | WARNING you are only allowed to change this filename if you also
>  | change the documentation and add a statement that makes clear
>  | where the official location of the file is why you did choose a
>  | nonstandard location and that the nonstandard location only refers
>  | to unofficial cdrecord versions.

Again quoting Glenn Maynard

: Requiring that I explain (or even have) rationale for changes can't
: possibly be free.

This requirement is not present in the GNU GPL v2 and is a restriction
not allowed by DFSG#3.

>  |
>  | I was forced to add this because some people change cdrecord
>  | without rational reason and then publish the result. As those
>  | people don't contribute work and don't give support, they are
>  | causing extra work for me and this way slow down the cdrecord
>  | development.
> ------------------------------------------

But it is also tradition that times *must* and always
do change, my friend.   -- from _Coming to America_
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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